A champion, who’s childhood dream was only to become nice human being. Dora Gountoura learnt to smile no matter the hardships and with the support of bwin, paves the way for a new era in competitive sports.
Saturday, 7 March 2019. A few days before the pandemic of COVID-19 lead to an all-pervasive lock down to society and consequently in sports. The 23-year-old Dora Gountoura became the first Greek athlete to win a medal in the “Αcropolis” Fencing World Cup. After winning the medal, she stated that her dream is very close to become reality. The Olympic Games of Tokyo were, back then, a reachable goal. Beyond her great sporting success, the fact that underlines her effort and her mentality, is that she made it despite competing with bronchitis. She gave 5 bouts and even though she was clearly strained, she managed to make it to the pedestal and win the bronze medal. She expressed faith, mental and physical strength. These features, indeed, along with the decisive support of bwin, helped her to evolve in one of the best Greek athletes.
Sports were always part of Dora’s DNA. She tried to compete in several sports, before starting her career in sabre. She played tennis, she tried gymnastics and dance and then she focused on fencing. She was inspired by her trainer, Thanasis Delenikas. He taught her the secrets of fencing and the values that she can look for in sports. Those values became a solid part of her character and paved the way during her life. With the support of bwin, she brought success to a relative unknown sport, like every other athlete under the sponsoring scheme of bwin.
When Dora recalls her first steps in competitive sports, she does not remember her first fight, but her first medal. She won on the occasion of her name day and on the very same day her grandfather passed away. She dedicated the medal to her grandpa, and she found out that she can bypass every obstacle. There were a lot of difficult moments in her career and she thought to quit, because even though she worked very hard, she did not have the support that she deserved. Her very own people persuaded her to continue her sporting career. They foresaw that she has all that she needs to evolve and fulfill her dream of competing in Olympic Games.
In Greece, talent and dedication usually are not enough to make it to the top level for a sport like fencing. The athlete needs the support of a big sponsor, not only for competing in top level, but also for not giving up, since the cost is extremely high. Bwin provided Gountoura the support she was looking for. When she was first added in bwin family, she was not even included in the list of the 100 best fencing women in the world. With the boost of bwin, she made it to the top ten!
Her inclusion to the sponsoring program “We support the new generation of Olympic athletes” didn’t help her only in terms of financial support, but also mentally. Bwin’s boost allowed her to travel in tournaments that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the past and helped her understand why a world level brand believed in her cause. Bwin stood by her side unconditionally, in victories and defeats, only to help her to achieve her goals and to actively support the Greek sports, as it does with all the other athletes of the scheme. Bwin’s backing had a great impact in her morale, since it helped her evolve and approach in a different way her everyday training. It helped her to gain more experience, with top level opponents and the best equipment.
Thanks to bwin’s support, competing in the Olympic Games became a realistic goal, since a series of successful bouts brough her very close to qualification. Last summer she managed to achieve the biggest success in Greek fencing history, when she was named the first Greek woman athlete to win a medal in World Championship. This year, she won the medal in the “Acropolis” tournament. Dora was close to making it to the Tokyo’s Olympic Games, but the spread of COVID-19 delayed her flight to Japan. She will be ready for next year. Always side by side with bwin since they share common values.