The need for Cyprus sports to gain ‘independence’ from Greece, as well as strengthen the Republic of Cyprus on the international sports scene, due to the declaration of an illegal entity in the occupied territories of Cyprus in 1983, led the top officials of Cyprus Athletics to establish the National Federation of Amateur Athletics that same year.
KOEAS (CAAA: Cyprus Amateur Athletics Association) became an official member of the International Association of Athletics Federations in 1984 and since then it takes part in all international sports events, either under the European or International umbrella or the International Olympic Committee as a member of the Cyprus Olympic Committee.
So from 1984 onwards, Cyprus Athletics has the opportunity of being represented at a national level by its athletes at all major international games. One of the most attractive events, that was and remains a performance assessment criterion, was the European Cup Bruno Zauli and its successor, the European Athletics Team Championships. The first time that the CAAA took part in this high quality event was 1985, with our men’s and women’s team travelling together to Schwechat, Austria for the Second League competition.
It is reminded that from 1985 through to 2008, the National Men’s and Women’s Teams were evaluated at separate events, with different scores and on many occasions, with different opponents. Back then, the European Athletics Federation would separate the national athletics teams based on performance, to Super League, and First League and Second League in two groups. From 1995 onwards when new European countries emerged following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the velvet division of Czechoslovakia and the reunification of Germany, First League was held in two groups.
Two historic moments…
Until 1993, the European Cup was held every two years and following that through to 2008 it switched to an annual format, with our national men’s and women’s teams taking part in the event 20 times each. During these two decades, Cyprus athletics experienced two historic moments, two amazing promotions to First League, once for men in 1998 and once for women in 2006, by coincidence, both in Serbia.
In the Belgrade games of 1998, an amazing men’s national team, with four wins, three of which secured by Anninos Marcoullides (100m, 200m, 4X100m relay) and one by Evros Demosthenous (400m) climbed to 2nd position taking 110 points, behind hosts Serbia (129 points) and ahead of Turkey (107 points). Next year, in Athens during the First League event, the men’s national team was not able to replicate its performance and was outclassed by top performing teams, being relegated to Second League. Our brief promotion proved however that despite having a small population, we can produce high quality athletes.
In the Novi Sad games of 2006, it was our women’s turn to take the great leap and display their talent at European level. With two wins by Andri Sialou (400m hurdles) and Anny Christofidou (800m) and nine (9) 2nd places, the girls triumphed, taking top spot with 186,5 points out of 11 countries. So in 2007, they lived through a fantastic experience in Milan, Italy during the First League event and made us proud with the first participation of the women’s athletics team in this category.
From 1985 to 2008, our national men’s and women’s team took part in the European Cup’s Second League 19 times, taking, in the men’s competition, one 2nd place, three (3) third positions, four (4) fifth places and one 6th and in women, one first place, one third, three 4th places, 10 fifth places and four sixth places. In First League, during their one and only participation, both men and women ranked 8th and last. It has to be noted that the Cyprus Amateur Athletics Association hosted an event in 2001 at the newly built Athletics stadium in GSP.
Individually, Anninos Marcoullides secured most wins for Cyprus in the men’s category – no less than 13 (!) of which 5 in the 100 meters, 3 in the 200 meters and a further 5 as part of the 4X100 meters relay team. He is followed by Prodromos (Makis) Katsantonis, with nine (9) wins, one in the 100 meters, three (3) in the 200 meters and five (5) as a member of the 4X100 meters relay team. Marios Hadjiandreou won the triple jump five times.
In the women’s team, Dora Kyriakou had five wins, one (1) in the 200 meters and four (4) in the 400 meters, with four wins by Anna Foitidou in the pole vault and three by Andri Sialou in the 400 meter hurdles.
CYPRUS’ POSITIONS IN HISTORY OF EUROPEAN CUPS
YEAR CITY, COUNTRY P. P/P
1985 Scwechat, Austria 48 4/5
1987 Athens, Greece 46,5 4/5
1989 Copenhagen, Denmark 36,5 5/5
1991 Athens, Greece 47 4/5
1993 Villach, Austria 57,5 6/7
1994 Istanbul, Turkey 72 4/7
1995 Velenje, Slovenia 91 4/7
1996 Oordegem, Belgium 91 3/6
1997 Odense, Denmark 107 4/8
1998 Belgrade, Yugoslavia 110 2/8
1999 Athens, Greece (First League) 63 8/8
2000 Banska Bystrica, Slovakia 127 4/9
2001 Nicosia, Cyprus 92 5/8
2002 Tallinn, Estonia 87,5 5/8
2003 Istanbul, Turkey 164 4/12
2004 Reykjavik, Iceland 94 4/8
2005 Istanbul, Turkey 167 5/13
2006 Novi Sand, Serbia/Montenegro 176 4/12
2007 Zenica, Bosnia/Herzegovina 209 3/14
2008 Banska Bystrica, Slovakia 208,5 3/14
YEAR CITY, COUNTRY P. P/P
1985 Schwechat, Austria 36 5/6
1987 Athens, Greece 31 6/6
1989 Brussels, Belgium 30 6/6
1991 Athens, Greece 26 5/5
1993 Villach, Austria 37 5/6
1994 Istanbul, Turkey 48 6/7
1995 Velenje, Slovenia 64 4/7
1996 Oordegem, Belgium 62 4/7
1997 Odense, Denmark 53 5/6
1998 Belgrade, Yugoslavia 89 5/8
1999 Tel Aviv, Israel 79 5/8
2000 Banska Bystrica, Slovakia 83 6/9
2001 Nicosia, Cyprus 86 5/8
2002 Tallinn, Estonia 95 5/8
2003 Istanbul, Turkey 151 5/12
2004 Reykjavik, Iceland 92,5 5/8
2005 Istanbul, Turkey 197 3/12
2006 Novi Sad, Serbia/Montenegro 186,5 1/11
2007 Milan, Italy (First League) 58,5 8/8
2008 Banska Bystrica, Slovakia 216 4/14
* P.: Points, P/P: Position/Participated countries