Written by Stuart McLennan
Crete based Sophia Anagnostopoulou almost made it to the Greece women’s rugby league selections last year except for a cruel twist of fate.
“It was my dream to play in the Greek rugby league community and of course the national team but on the ferry to Athens last year I got sick. I was very sick, I mean my temperature was around 40 degrees and so I returned to Crete without playing and I said it’s not my time, it’s not going to happen. So this is my second time around,” the 22 year old student explained to Everything Rugby League.
Anagnostopoulou returned to Athens in late October this year, managing to survive the eight hour ferry trip without incident. Since then the outside back has embarked on a whirlwind fortnight of activity which has seen her train and play with the Athens Raiders, be selected in the national squad and attend the required training and bootcamp sessions. On Saturday 11 November she will achieve her dream of taking the field with the Greece national team against Serbia in Bojnik.
“It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s an honour to wear the national flag and the jersey with the team. It’s a dream. Really!”
The final year environmental science student at the Technical University of Crete in Chania was an up and coming track and field star, specialising in the 100 metre sprint before finding and joining the Cretan Gunners rugby union team. Anagnostopoulou is full of praise for the role the Chania based club has played in her development and the facilities available. In turn the Greek Rugby Leqgue Federation welcome further involvement from the club andplayers.
“I wanted to do something more chilled (than track and field) and I wanted to be part of a team,” she says of her decision to switch to rugby in 2020.
The squad of 18 traveling to Serbia features 10 new faces from last year and all four Greek women’s domestic clubs are represented.
Serbia vs Greece women’s match to be played Saturday 11 November at 1pm (Serbian local time) in Bojnik, Serbia.
ALEVRA, Giota – Zante RL
ANAGNOSTOPOULOU, Sophia – Athens Raiders
ANGELI, Eleftheria – Athens Raiders
GROSYK, Paula – Aris Eagles
KOUTSIKOU, Rania – Athens Raiders (Captain)
KOUTSIMPOGEORGOU, Yiofi – Athens Raiders
KOUTSIOUMPA, Valia – Attica Rhinos
LAMPROU, Marianna – Aris Eagles
LIMPERI, Anna – Aris Eagles
LYMPERIDI, Chrysiida – Athens Raiders
MAKRI, Christina – Aris Eagles
MARAGKOU, Sasa – Attica Rhinos
MASTORAKI, Asimina Aris Eagles
PAPPA, Myrsini – Aris Eagles
PAPOUTSIS, Dimitra – Attica Rhinos
SKOUROLIAKOU, Effie – Aris Eagles
STAVRIANOU, Maggie – Athens Raiders (Vice-captain)
VARYPATI, Katerina – Zante RL