This year I learned to manage bad reviews, Bartzokas is the best Greek coach

Olympiakos won the 8th championship in its history in A1 Women and one of the protagonists of the victory, Eliana Cristinaghi, spoke to SPORT24 about the Piraeus team’s third consecutive title.

Olympiacos is the champion in A1 women for the 8th time in its history and Eliana Cristinagi, the main pillar of the red and white team spoke. Sports 24 Not just for winning a third title in a row.

The result was a difficult transfer from Panathinaikos to Olympiakos in the summer, managing the year’s problems until winning the trophy. The bond with the Olympiakos men’s team is the unity and mutual respect of the two divisions. Experiences from abroad, women’s basketball in Greece and the challenge of women’s Eurobasket 2025 in our country.

Eliana Cristinaghi unpacks her thoughts a year after finding Olympiakos at the top of Greece’s women’s basketball.

Eliana Cristinaghi in an interview with SPORT24
Photo credit: Georgia Panakopoulou / Tourette Photography

“It was a very difficult season, but luckily we got a happy ending. Personally I had to adapt a new team and philosophy. We had many misfortunes, many injuries, changes, but managed to bring another title to Olympiakos. Greece has been very competitive in recent years. One of the finals, we and the world enjoyed it.

Winning a championship is not easy. Panathinaikos was a very competitive team with the best foreign players in the league (Jones, Alain) and that counts for a lot when you beat a good opponent.

Beyond that, the fact that not a single game from the finals was televised should worry us, and I think that’s something that needs to change in the future if women’s basketball is to rise. As well as the Immediate “Replay is a necessity for me personally, something that women’s basketball doesn’t have in Greece.” The Greek guard’s first comment for the completed season.

Olympiacos capitalized on home advantage and clinched the title with three wins in as many games in the SEF. Cristinaghi spoke about the importance of public support…”I think having people’s support is the most important advantage, playing on your own ground is the most important”.

Eliana Cristinaghi with SPORT24 editor Thanos Ferona
Photo credit: Georgia Panakopoulou / Tourette Photography

The finals series hid some problems for Nicklaus’ team, as the Red and White suffered a number of injuries en route to the crown.

Scared of losing your torso to injuries

“It was scary to lose your whole body to injuries in the finals. In the second game, Vitola broke his nose. In the last game, we lost Nikolopoulos in the second quarter, he was our main playmaker, the captain. The team.

I think Spyridopoulou and I have shown strong personalities, confidence, will and composure in this team. As I always say, the team that wins the championship, whether good or bad, turns it around quickly.

We weren’t ready (because of injuries to Nikolopoulos and Spyridopoulos) and the girls from the bench had to step up and they did. There was a lot of pressure on all of us at that time.

Many of us were forced to play other positions to cover the gaps and bring about the desired result. It is certainly something very difficult to achieve, but we have shown that we can achieve our goals in adverse circumstances.” Cristinaghi said of the injury problems.

Eliana Cristinaghi on SPORT24 about winning the championship with Olympiakos
Photo credit: Georgia Panakopoulou / Tourette Photography

In addition to the fan support, Olympiakos’ women’s basketball division also received the support of the men’s team, with Giorgos Bartzokas and some of his players appearing in room 5 of SEF to witness the athletes’ efforts. Red and white.

We are one family in Olympiakos

A leading actress confirmed that the relationship between the two industries is good.It was very important. We have good relations with both the departments. Coach Bartsokas presence in the third final was important for us. Mr. Katzoulis has helped me a lot this year. Conan has been coming and supporting the games all season. I think it’s very important, we need this thing.

In America, LeBron, Curry, Irving help his development WNBA, we also need their help to improve our game. This is what happens at Olympiakos, we are a family. We provide training in the same facilities. They always help us out and let us practically be guests there as a women’s division.”

“If you exclude the league title, I thought nothing happened because when we came into the team there was a vision of a better trend in Europe. Our starting five got injured and they were out of our team for three months. So we made a change and brought in a new player.

There were constant changes, misfortunes, injuries, and I never imagined this would happen. So much tension and pressure as Olympiakos must always be the star and every defeat is considered a defeat. “It is a great achievement that we won the championship despite all these problems,” he said. Cristinaghi’s response to a question on whether he expected this season to be like this.

I’ve learned to handle bad reviews this year

The year began with a difficult decision as the 27-year-old guard made the move from Panathinaikos to Olympiakos. On managing this situation, he said… “It’s always difficult to change to any team, especially when you go from one big club to another when you’re in Greece, you need a strong stomach and a strong personality to do it. It’s definitely not easy. I definitely didn’t expect to adapt so fast at Olympiakos.

I think the team and the management helped me a lot, I saw that they respected me and there was mutual respect and that helped a lot to make my adaptation smooth and fast because winning a leading role in a team is not easy. It just started. This year I have learned to handle harsh criticism more than any other time in my life. I have chosen my mirror to always be parquet, no matter how unfair it may be at any given moment.”

Eliana Cristinaghi on SPORT24
Photo credit: Georgia Panakopoulou / Tourette Photography

Christinaki returned to Greece after a few years abroad, which gave him new experiences, making the difference in level compared to Greece even more significant.The level abroad is very high. I learned to be professional, always be at a high level and compete with the best players.

There is a big difference, but I believe we have a lot of talent and standards for our own basketball. In terms of infrastructure, we are lagging behind, but I think we can be among the elite. It requires a lot of effort from everyone. From teams, from federations, from all sports in Greece in general, not just basketball.

I think there are many talented women in Greece. The first thing they need to do to be successful is to become an athlete and become more involved with their body.

It is always understood along with subjects and school. Cultivating as people is very important. I have seen so many kids who work hard and succeed. The talent is there, we may not have the infrastructure that Spain and other countries have, but the material is there.”

Women’s basketball needs exposure

“Definitely needed exposure basket The league is shown on ERT and many of our games should be on TV as well. This will also bring in sponsors little by little. Next year we have a big event called Women’s Eurobasket in Greece.

The Federation has invested heavily in bringing it to our country. If we want women’s basketball to rise, we as athletes have to work hard, become professionals, and realize that it takes ten times as much hard work.” Her opinion on the necessary moves for the development of women’s basketball in the country.

Caitlin Clarke is the new phenomenon of world women’s basketball and Cristinagi couldn’t help but comment on her game…”She does terrible things and writes her own story. I think she will be one of the best players WNBA again this year, since her freshman year. She’s an amazing shot, she’s the female Steph Curry. He makes it look so easy. I think he will definitely create history.”

Cristinaghi is 27 years old and expresses confidence that the peak of his career is yet to come…”I don’t know if I’m 27 now. I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience in my game. With these injuries I’ve had, I’ll probably hit my peak in the next few years.”

I miss a difference in the national team

He has already won many titles in his career, he is full of experiences, however, distinction with the national team is something he lacks.… “I definitely miss the distinction with the national team, it’s something I’m working on and it’s on my mind.

When there are tough days I always say that we have to be better to bring success. I think this Eurobasket in our country next year will be an opportunity for us together with our world. I think the talent is there and the players can now back it up and bring this result. It’s a big goal, it’s a big dream.”

Bartzokas was the greatest Greek coach

Olympiakos is united and, as Eliana Christinaki points out, the men’s and women’s basketball divisions are like a family. Greek athlete Giorgos Bartzokas was chosen as the best Greek coach, while expressing his desire for the red and white team to reach the final four.

“I want Olympiakos to go to the final four. With all the misfortunes they’ve had this year, I don’t think any other team would have progressed this far. We lived together every day on the field. It was different. Like a family. .

I really appreciate what Coach Bartzokas has accomplished. He kept losing players, he had to bring in new ones, create new systems. I am sure he is the best Greek coach at the moment and he has achieved a lot.

It’s an achievement that they reached this series and, despite all the difficulties, lost the Euroleague MVP, Sasha (ss. Vezenkov) and competed again for a place in the final four.” is her opinion.

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