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By Konstantinos Tzikas


ATHENS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Greek Olympic gold medalist Anna Korakaki made a triumphant return to her native country on Thursday, where she was welcomed by officials and enthusiastic crowds.


Greek Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis was among those who received the Olympic medalist at the Athens International Airport.


"In these difficult times, this young woman' s effort gives us hope. Under difficult circumstances, armed with drive, perseverance and willpower, she managed to realize her dreams," Kouroumplis said in an official statement.


Twenty-year old Korakaki won a gold medal in women' s 25-meter pistol shooting on Aug. 9 in the Summer Olympics currently in progress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Korakaki prevailed over her opponents, Monika Karsch from Germany, who won silver, Heidi Diethelm Gerber from Switzerland, who won bronze, and Zhang Jingjing from China, who came in fourth place.


It was Korakaki' s second Olympic medal in two days. She previously won bronze in women' s 10-meter air pistol on Aug. 7, with Zhang Mengxue from China and Vitalina Batsarashkina from Russia winning the gold and silver medal respectively.


Korakaki' s victory is expected to boost the morale of Greece, a country plagued with severe economic problems for the past several years. She is the first Greek woman to win two Olympic medals in the same competition and the first Greek athlete to win a shooting medal since 1912.


In an official statement at the airport, Korakaki said she hoped her victories would stimulate people' s interest in shooting sports, which are all but ignored in Greece.


"Like I said, I want these two medals to encourage more children to become interested in shooting sports - sports, in general, but shooting sports, in particular," she said.


Despite this being Korakaki' s maiden Olympic campaign, the 20-year old already boasts an impressive resume. Since 2011, she has won over nine medals in international competitions.


Korakaki attributes her success to her father, Tasos Korakakis, who has been her coach since 2009. However, she also acknowledged the difficulties in having her father as a coach.


"Sometimes, (training with him) is a beautiful thing, sometimes not so much! Now that I study in Thessaloniki, we don't live in the same house anymore. However, when I was a kid starting out my training, it was tough on me because sometimes I would feel like running away from obligations and the extra workload I had to face at home," Korakaki told media.


Tasos Korakakis shared with reporters the moment he was waiting for the announcement of the final results in the 25-meter pistol shooting competition.


"I was calm, I was praying. I was looking forward to listening to the final result through the cheering voices of the Greeks," he said.


Echoing his daughter' s wish, Korakakis -- who has been famous at odds with the national shooting federation of Greece -- said he wished that Anna' s success means that more people will be interested in relatively obscure sports, such as shooting.


"I truly hope that athletes will win medals, not just in shooting sports but in all other sports where our athletes will be distinguished, sports that are not very popular and haven' t had much exposure, so that people will start showing interest in these sports," he said.


Anna Korakaki, who hails from the town of Drama in northern Greece, was expected to reunite with the rest of her family and friends later in the day.


RIO DE JANEIRO air max for sale , March 19 (Xinhua) -- China has seen its economy taking off and national strength growing. Now it wants to improve its status in the world of "Beautiful Game".


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In the meantime, Brazil air max 98 for sale , known as the "Soccer Kingdom", is carrying out a soccer reform to avoid a repeat of humiliations like five-time champion's 7-1 defeat to Germany at last year's World Cup. The plan put more emphasis on professional leagues and developing young talents.


Twenty-one years after turning professional air max 97 for sale , Chinese soccer has no obvious improvement, having been troubled with corruption and match-fixing in the league.


The Chinese men's team air max 720 for sale , now ranked 83rd, qualified only once for the World Cup finals while the women's side is struggling to recreate their glory as the 1999 World Cup runner-up even failed to qualify for the 2011 edition.


In the wake of a wide crackdown on corruption and match-fixing air max 270 for sale , Chinese soccer has been clawing its way back, witnessing league champion Guangzhou Evergrande clinch China's first ever Asian Champions League title in 2013 and the men's national team reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals early this year.


The overall soccer plan was passed by China's central reform group chaired by President Xi Jinping air max 2018 for sale , who is an avid soccer fan.


China's soccer reform is different from Brazil's.


The world's most popular game is set to be added into the compulsory curriculum in elementary and middle schools across China in a bid to foster interest and increase soccer population.


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