Greek table tennis players fund tickets to worlds

Members of the Greek table tennis national team on Thursday provided a loan to their cash-strapped federation to allow them compete at the world championships in Tokyo later this month.

Unable to fund the eight-member team for the April 28 to May 5 championships in Japan, the players themselves provided the 23,000 euros ($31,557) needed to the Greek Table Tennis Federation as a loan.

"I am very excited and proud that the players agreed to facilitate the federation in this terribly difficult time by paying for their tickets," federation president Manolis Kolibadis said Thursday.

Kolibadis said the players "showed incredible maturity and responsibility without any complaint or grumbling."

"They helped ensure participation in the major championship and protected the prestige and dignity of the sport," Kolibadis said.

The financial crisis in the country has led to drastic cuts in subsidies to sports federations.