Greece develop promising teenagers Alexoglou and Paschalaki through Volleyball Empowerment for the Olympic Games 2028
Greek volleyball has seen it all; from four consecutive appearances (2000,2004,2008,2012) at the Olympic Games to none in the last decade. The long absence from the Olympics is set to stretch to 12 years with the Paris 2024 edition seemingly out of reach.
However, the Hellenic Volleyball Federation (HVF) has hatched a plan with the aim to see them return to the Olympic Games in 2028 which will be held in Los Angeles, the USA.
The plan is anchored on a robust youth structure currently being set up by HVF as part of a five-year project supported by the FIVB through its transformational Volleyball Empowerment programme.
The FIVB has invested CHF 72,000 in coach support for Greece national beach volleyball teams since 2021 through Volleyball Empowerment. Under the project, coach Kostas Pothitakis oversees the men’s team while Stathis Chandrinos coaches the women’s team. Both coaches are protégés of Brazilian Tie Santana who worked with Greece’s national teams between 2018 and 2022.
HVF Beach Volleyball Coordinator Alex Paraskevopoulos believes that Greece is on the right track having opted to start afresh by scouting for young talents who will realise their 2028 Olympic dream.
“Beach volleyball is an expensive sport because you have to travel to participate in competitions and earn ranking points. We get little financial support from our government hence the support from the FIVB has really been critical for us.
Coach Stathis Chandrinos (right) is in charge of the women’s team under FIVB Volleyball Empowerment Programme (Photo credits: HVF)
“We wanted to create a solid youth structure hence we needed to have coaches working full time to develop the talented juniors in the programme. Both coaches (Pothitakis and Chandrinos) worked with Santana so they have gained a lot of knowledge from a great school of beach volleyball (Brazilian school) which they are passing on to the juniors,” said Paraskevopoulos .
Vasiliki “Vasso” Karantasiou and Vicky Avraniti were constant figures in Greece’s golden years between 2000 and 2012 and Paraskevopoulos is already likening the teenage pair of Eleni Alexoglou (13) and Myrto Paschalaki (15) to the two legends.
Promising Greece U18 women’s beach volleyball pair of Eleni Alexoglou and Myrto Paschalaki who are being prepared for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 (Photo credits: HVF)
Alexoglou and Paschalaki finished an impressive 9th at last year’s CEV U18 EuroBeachVolley held in Greece and 13th in this year’s edition in Spain.
“They are only 13 and 15 but their coaches say they remind them of Vasso and Vicky. Age is on their side, so they have time to continue developing through the age-group competitions. We have high hopes for them and strongly believe they can qualify for the Olympic Games in 2028,” said Paraskevopoulos .
While Los Angeles 2028 is the ultimate target, they have a short-term goal of qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026 from where they will work their way up the rankings.
“We now have a strong base of many talented juniors, so our target is to become top 100 in the World Rankings by 2025. In 2026, we want this group to get a feel for the Olympics by playing in the Youth Olympics then target to become top 50. If we remain consistent in attending tournaments, then in 2027 we should be among the top 20 in the world which will guarantee us a place at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles,” Alex succinctly broke down their strategy.