Nikos Samaras Award
«At the 28th ICPESS, “Nikos Samaras prize” will be awarded to Olympic Champion Spyros Gianniotis.»
This prize was introduced to the memory of the great volleyball player, who was a graduate of the School of Physical Education and Sport Science of Democritus University and perished ingloriously in 2013. Nikos Samaras was one of the top volleyball players that our country has featured. He fought at the diagonal position and stood out 263 times internationally. He has distinguished himself for his “staggering” serve with a leap and his quick dunk.
He started his career playing in the team of Orestiada, which he also led on to become one of the country’s top in the 90s. In fact, with this team, he reached the second position of the Confederation Cup (now Challenge Cup) in 1995, losing to the final from the mighty Pallavolo Parma with 3-0 sets.
In 1998, he left Orestiada for the Italian Falconara. A year later, he returned to Greece to compete in the volleyball team Iraklis in Thessaloniki, where he won the Greek Cup in 2000. In the summer of 2000, he got a transfer to Panathinaikos, where he stayed until 2002. He then competed in AEK, in the Spanish team of Seville, in the Turkish Fenerbahce, in the Swiss Senau, in the Ethnikos Alexandroupolis and completed his career in Milona, at the age of 42. He was the only Greek volleyball player who has ever taken part in the championships of five countries.
He played 263 times with Men’s National Greek team (12th on the list of the Hellenic Volleyball Federation) and in 1994 he won the 6th place in the World Volleyball Championship, held in Greece. He was also 160 times internationalist with the National Youth team, with which he won the 6th place at the World Championship in 1989 in Athens.