Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi and triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou no longer need to repay medal bonuses earned at the 2016 World Indoor Championships following a clarification of the law by Greek authorities.
Earlier this month the 30-year-old vaulter told insidethegames how she and Papachristou, who won bronze medals at the Championships in Portland in Oregon, had had to take legal action to fend off a demand that they send back the bonuses - which they received in December 2018 - within five days.
Stefanidi, world champion in 2017 and European champion in 2016 and 2018, said she was concerned that the Greek Ministry for Culture and Sports was excluding payment for indoor medals as a cost-saving measure and feared this would impact the majority of the country’s track and field competitors.
After she had re-tweeted the resulting article, however, Stefanidi said the Deputy Minister for Culture and Sports, Lefteris Avgenakis, and the general secretary for the department, George Mavrotas, tweeted back saying that a procedure had started to "fix the issue" and they followed up with an official announcement to that effect.
The officials told Stefanidi - currently preparing to defend her title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics re-scheduled for next summer - that they were preparing a legislative adjustment.
"It basically clarifies and specifies that part of the law that is a bit vague," Stefanidi told insidethegames.
"So based on this new legislation indoor track is considered as important and therefore rewardable as outdoor Championships.
"This legislation is also including European Championships in swimming that are held in a 25 metres pool (they had a similar issue, suddenly, to us in how the law was being read).
"The legislation passed through Parliament last week and is done, so the only thing we are waiting for is for it to be posted to the newspaper of the Government to become official."
The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports has offered bonuses for more than 20 years for all medals, indoors or out.
But in the wake of the country’s recent economic struggles the law was amended so that athletes earning more than one major medal in a given year would only receive the full bonus for their "best" achievement according to the acknowledged pecking order of Olympic, world and European levels, with additional achievements only meriting 20 per cent of the bonus amount.
"The general secretary said that the issue was with how the law is written," Stefanidi added.
"The thing is that the law has been this way since 1999, so what really happened is someone decided to read it differently.
"It never differentiated between indoor and outdoor but one part of it, that to be fair to them was pretty vague, spoke about only rewarding the most important World or European Championship of a year.
"That being said this could be read in two ways.
"One way is: 'in each calendar year if there are two World or two European Championships we need to select the most important one of the two'.
"But a second way is: 'For each sport if there are two World or two European Championships we need to select one based on importance and only reward that one'.
“The law has been read like option one for years now but for some reason recently it was decided they are going to read it as option two.
"So this is how the problem started."
Asked if the disappearance of bonuses for indoor performances would have dissuaded her from seeking further success on the boards - with the European Athletics Indoor Championships set for Torun in Poland from March 5 to 7 and the World Athletics Indoor Championships currently re-scheduled in Nanjing in China from March 19 to 21 - Stefanidi admitted it could have altered preparations.
"I think if the Ministry had decided to not reward indoor Championships I would still try to compete but potentially approach he training and peaking a bit differently," Stefanidi told insidethegames.
"I think most athletes my age would compete just because we were raised to value indoor Championships as much as outdoors.
"However, I think that if the Ministry had decided to not reward indoors, and in a way, devalue it, the next generation would have much lower motivation to compete at indoor Championships.
"And it would almost make sense as they could spend that time preparing better for outdoor Championships.
"Greece has gained many medals at indoor Championships in recent years and in general I think it would have been a big loss for everyone."