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From parkour to long jump, how Papanikos and Pomashki helped Tentoglou to the top | FEATURE | WIC 22 – World Athletics

The famed running coach Arthur Lydiard once said that there are “champions everywhere, every street’s got them – all we need to do is train them properly.”

Evangelos Papanikos knows the truth in that. In Grevena, a small town in northern Greece, he was coaching at the local athletics stadium many years ago when his eye was drawn to one of the teenagers doing parkour in the stands. 

One kid was older, more athletic, than the others, displaying a blend of power, speed and gymnastic agility that Papanikos knew could be put to good use on a track, or indeed the field. He convinced the youngster to give athletics a go. 

That kid was Miltiadis Tentoglou, and these days he’s the reigning Olympic champion in the long jump, the European champion and, on Friday (18), the day he turned 24, he added to his long list of achievements at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22


Tentoglou soared to a Greek indoor record of 8.55m to win gold with ease, sending a message that his success in Tokyo last year was no fluke. 

He’s at the top, and it looks like he’s here to stay. 

“He is very easy to coach,” says Georgi Pomashki, who has coached him for the last five years, taking the baton from Papanikos when Tentoglou was in his late teens. “You don’t have to do an exercise 10 times to get him to perfect it. It’s difficult to find an athlete like that: it’s a present from God.”

When Pomashki took over, he could quickly see the benefit of Tentoglou’s parkour background.

“In parkour, everything has to be exact and he got this focus from this sport,” he says. “This has helped to make him exact in his movement.”

The sport involves moving between different points at speed, typically in an urban setting, without any assistance. It has its roots in military obstacle course training and martial arts, and requires an ability to run, climb, swing, vault, and, of course, to jump. 

“It makes me feel free,” says Tentoglou. “The coach saw me doing (parkour) and said I have some very nice abilities, so maybe come to training. I was not doing any sports at the time and was like, ‘yeah, maybe I want to try.’”

His first athletics event was the high jump, Tentoglou clearing a solid if unexceptional 1.80m in his first competition. “But when I tried the long jump, I was immediately good,” he says. “I was 15 and did 6.38m in my first competition.”

Tentoglou had no athletics background in his family, and as a child his dream was to become a MotoGP rider, then a surfer, then a parkour professional. But as he developed in the long jump, he knew that event would take precedence. He moved to Athens and enrolled at university, leaving behind the tutelage of Papanikos to join up with Pomashki. 

“No one can stop the development of an athlete, only delay it,” Papanikos once told the website Athina984. “The best must train with …….

Source: https://worldathletics.org/competitions/world-athletics-indoor-championships/belgrade22/news/feature/parkour-long-jump-papanikos-pomashki-tentoglou

The famed running coach Arthur Lydiard once said that there are “champions everywhere, every street’s got them – all we need to do is train them properly.”

Evangelos Papanikos knows the truth in that. In Grevena, a small town in northern Greece, he was coaching at the local athletics stadium many years ago when his eye was drawn to one of the teenagers doing parkour in the stands. 

One kid was older, more athletic, than the others, displaying a blend of power, speed and gymnastic agility that Papanikos knew could be put to good use on a track, or indeed the field. He convinced the youngster to give athletics a go. 

That kid was Miltiadis Tentoglou, and these…….

The famed running coach Arthur Lydiard once said that there are “champions everywhere, every street’s got them – all we need to do is train them properly.”

Evangelos Papanikos knows the truth in that. In Grevena, a small town in northern Greece, he was coaching at the local athletics stadium many years ago when his eye was drawn to one of the teenagers doing parkour in the stands. 

One kid was older, more athletic, than the others, displaying a blend of power, speed and gymnastic agility that Papanikos knew could be put to good use on a track, or indeed the field. He convinced the youngster to give athletics a go. 

That kid was Miltiadis Tentoglou, and these…….

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