Popular Sports in Cyprus

Someone can call Cyprus an island of sports. Despite its small population size (just over a million) if not all the majority of its inhabitants have something to do with the sports (either as spectators or actual athletes).

The most popular sports around the island is football, Basketball, athletics/Olympic games, futsal, and Cyprus Rally which is held yearly since 1970. Some people are getting also involved in skiing, handball and volleyball and water polo in recent years.

Football was introduced to Cyprus early in the 20th century by the British and became popular. Very soon various football clubs were formed engaging in friendly matches between them. in September 1934 the Cyprus Football Association(CFA) was formed in order to regulate the sport. In 1948, the Cyprus Football Association became a FIFA member and a UEFA member in 1962. Cyprus football the recent years has achieved great achievements, mostly in the European cups, Champions League and Europa League, with F.C. APOEL entering the Champions League group stage 3 times and 3 times entering the Europa League group stage. F.C. APOEL in 2011 achieved the greatest history of Cyprus football by reaching the Champions League quarter-finals stage facing the Real Madrid. The year 2011 was one of the best in the Cyprus football as two clubs were in the European Cups Group Stages, FC APOEL and AEK Larnakas. (for more details refer to Cypriot football clubs in European competitions-Wikipedia.) There are currently 8 major football stadiums in Cyprus – Ammostochos, Antonios Papadopoulos and Neo GZS in Larnaca, Paralimni (Tasos Markou) and Dasaki (Achna), Tsirion Athletic Centre in Limassol (currently a new one is being built),  Pangkiprio Stadium (GSP) in the island’s capital and final Stelios Kyriakides stadium in Paphos

Basketball. Also a very popular sport in Cyprus but it was hit severely by the economic crisis in the last years. Sponsors due to the economic crisis pulled out thus basketball were hit severely and that took the league years back. Now slowly things are getting better and teams like AEL Limassol and AEK Larnaka have to show good European campaigns. The Cyprus National Team is now slowly taking part in the European competitions.

Athletics and Olympic Games Cypriot athletes have achieved some remarkable successes in Athletics and Olympic Games. Cyprus has sent athletes in every summer and winter Olympic Games held since 1980. Our Best representatives were Pavlos Kontides, competing in the men’s Laser class sailing event, became the first Cypriot athlete ever to win an Olympic medal for his country by winning the Silver medal at the summer Olympic Games 2012 held in London. Kyriakos Ioannou, high jumper, and Eleni Artymata, sprinter, have won several medals.  Also, Cyprus is always sending athletes to the Paralympic Games with great results. Karolina Pelendritou and Antonis Aresti have won several gold medals for Cyprus.

 

Position Olympic winner   Year City Sport  / event
           
2η Pavlos kontidis   2012 London Laser (Sailing)
Antonis Nikolaidis   2008 Beijing Skeet (Shooting)
Giorgos Achilleos   2008 Beijing Skeet (Shooting)
  Stavros Tziortzis   1972 Munich 400m hurdles
Antonis Andreou   1996 Atlanta Skeet (Shooting)
 Andri Eleftheriou    2008 Beijing Skeet (Shooting)
Pavlos Kontidis   2016 Rio Laser (Sailing)
Kyriakos Ioannou   2016 Rio Άλμα εισ Υψος
Milan Traikovic    2016 Rio 110m hurdles
Antonis Andreou   2000 Sydney Skeet (Shooting)
Apostolos Parelis   2016 Rio Δισκοβολία

Tennis, This sport has been popular in Cyprus for more than 15 years. Locals and tourists love to play tennis, both professionally and just for fun. There are clubs all over the island teaching the game to players of all ages and levels. Most of the hotels in Cyprus have tennis courts on their premises so visitors can enjoy this sport. The main reason for the popularity of this sport is Marcos Baghdatis, the Cypriot professional tennis player. Baghdatis, was the runner up at the 2006 Australian Open and a semi-finalist at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, achieving a great season and reaching a career-high ATP singles ranking of world No.8 in August 2006.

Rallying Car rallies are very popular in Cyprus, and the first-ever held on the island dates back to 1970. Rallies have been held annually since then. The Cyprus Automobile Association deals with all rally matters.  Most rallies in Cyprus are held in the Troodos area near Limassol. Rallying in Cyprus tends to take place in summer and is, therefore, a very popular sport with the many tourists that visit the island in this season. It is important to note that the European Rally Championship often takes place in Cyprus.

Volleyball.

The C.V.F. (Cyprus Volleyball Federation) was founded in 1978. Ever since volleyball has grown significantly and there are both men’s and women’s teams, 1st and 2nd division. In recent years, Omonia is dominating the sport with Pafiakos trying to break that domination. In the past the team that dominated the sport was Anorthosis.

Club Winners Winning seasons
Anorthosis 20 1973, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
Nea Salamis 9 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2013
APOEL 6 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985
Omonia 6 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2022
Pafiakos 4 1992, 2004, 2006, 2018
AEK Karava 1 2012

 

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