15 Dec 2012

Young swimmers want coal for Christmas

6:16 am on 15 December 2012

Young swimmers in Greece are asking for coal this Christmas to heat their pool through the winter and has written a letter to Santa.

Olympiakos Piraeus youth academy team manager Spiros Bitsakis said on the club's website that the letter was a collection of wishes by team members.

One of those wishes was to give 'courage and strength to our parents to bring us to training and lots of coal to all of the teams so that all of the closed swimming pools can reopen', he said.

Many under-funded municipalities across Greece are closing their facilities because of a lack of funds to pay for heating the pools in times of economic crisis.

The Zappeion Swimming Pool in Athens, where elite swimmers and water polo players train, is closing for winter because there are no funds to pay for heating oil.

Last month, the Hellenic Olympic Committee said several sports federations would have to close in January if budgets were not revised.

Greece did not take part in last month's European short-course swimming championships in France for the first time in 16 years because of financial problems.