The Cyprus Olympic Committee has shown steady progress over the years in major competitions. It is indicative that in every new major competition its delegation is more successful than in the previous events.
In 2008, the Committee’s main aim was to show a good performance at the Olympic Games of Beijing. This goal was reached with two athletes in the Men’s Skeet reaching the final. Antonis Nicolaides was fourth, missing out on the bronze medal in the shoot off process by one missed clay disc. George Achilleos was right behind him achieving the fifth position. These were the highest positions Cyprus has ever had in an Olympic final as an independent state. In the women’s event of skeet shooting Andri Eleftheriou also made the final and reached the seventh position, making her the only Cypriot woman finalist in the Olympics ever.
In other major competitions, Cypriot athletes have had great results. Kyriakos Ioannou won the Silver medal in High Jump at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin in 2009. In 2007 and 2008, Pavlos Kontides was the world junior sailing champion in the laser radial category, and became the only athlete to ever accomplish such a feat. Also, at the 2009 World Juniors Championships Michalis Malekkides won gold for Cyprus in the RSX windsurfing category. In Gymnastics, Erodotos Giorgallas was fourth at the European championships in the rings event, and became the first Cypriot athlete to qualify for the final of the Gymnastics Grand Prix in Madrid. The Cyprus national shooting team also had a very successful year. Bianka Kassianidou won the gold medal in the skeet event at the world University games in Beijing as well as in the Commonwealth Games Shooting Championships that were held in Cyprus (team event). She also won a silver medal at the individual event. Eleni Artymata represented Cyprus at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She competed at the 200 metres where she reached the second round. At the 2009 World Athletics Championships, in Berlin, she reached the final of the 200 metres where she finished eighth. In the field of tennis Cyprus has been represented in many international tournaments by Marcos Baghdatis, who is a professional tennis player with many important victories and results in the past years. He is the only Cypriot ever to play in a Grand Slam tournament.
First metal in Olympic Games
After 32 years of Cyprus’ presence in the Olympic Games, Cyprus celebrated its first metal in the event. Since its first participation in the Olympic Games of Moscow in 1980, up until the Olympic Games of Beijing in 2008, Cyprus had no distinction. In the Olympic Games of London in June 2012, Cyprus athlete Pavlos Kontides won the first ever metal (silver) in sailing, laser category, with 59 points. Pavlos Kontides, with its victory, left his mark in the history of Cyprus sports.
The state honoured the great Champion. In a special ceremony held at the Presidential Palace on 10 August 2012, Pavlos Kontides was awarded with the honorary distinction of Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Cyprus.
Also, during a ceremony at the House of Representatives on 13 August 2012, Pavlos Kontides was awarded with the silver metal with the emblem of the House of Representatives, which constitutes the highest honorary distinction of the Body.