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Greek federation welcomes improved state funding

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek athletics will receive improved state funding close to $6.5 million after the national federation SEGAS protested against original proposals for cuts of up to 80 percent.

SEGAS said in a statement on its website (www.segas.gr) on Monday that it welcomed the government's change of heart, although the amount of 4,916,800 euros was still 30 percent less than in 2012.

In February the state promised to revise the severity of proposed funding cuts and allocated an extra 11 million euros to stop some beleaguered federations from closing down.

The budget for Olympic sports federations has been slashed by 50 percent year on year since 2010, while cuts of between 60 and 80 percent were due to be put into effect for 2013 under the country's austerity measures.

Water polo and swimming have also suffered, with Greece pulling their swimmers out of the European short-course championships at the end of last year for the first time in 16 years.

(Reporting by Graham Wood; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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