The men’s national water polo team will fly the Greek flag in the London Olympics this summer as it managed to earn a ticket to the event through the Olympic qualification tournament in Canada in the early hours of Saturday.
Greece defeated the hosts with a 10-6 score at Edmonton in the tournament’s playoffs to return to the Olympics after four years in the sport’s wilderness, given its absence from the main international scene of water polo.
The Greeks finished third in their qualifying group at Edmonton and had to face the Canadians in the all-important playoff for a place in London, but were on top of the game throughout leading 2-1 after the first period and 4-2 at half-time.
When Manolis Mylonakis made it 9-5 at the start of the last period, it became clear that Greece would be in the Olympics for the 12th time in its history at the sport.
Giorgos Afroudakis led Greece’s scoring in the game with four goals.
The men’s water polo team has therefore become the first from all team sports in Greece to advance to the Olympics, with the women’s team – the reigning world champions – about to fight for a ticket, too.
The men’s basketball team will also enter a qualification tournament in July.