The beautiful island of Cyprus is best-known for its wonderfully hot climate and its stunning collection of sandy beaches, and it’s perhaps fair to say that conditions on the island don’t necessarily lend themselves to great sporting achievement. When the temperatures are high and the sun is beating down, most of the locals would prefer to enjoy something a little more sedentary.
This isn’t always the case, however. Many sports are extremely popular on the island, and the locals are always keen to show their support. The most popular spectator sport in Cyprus is football, and there are several well-supported clubs in the Cypriot First Division. There was great celebration in 2012, when one of the local clubs, Apoel FC of Nicosia, qualified for the group stages of the European Champions League.
Another popular sport – and one which has seen Cyprus achieve notable success – is basketball. In 2007-08, AEL of Limassol managed a highly credible third place in the prestigious EuroCup, beating such luminaries as Khimik (Ukraine) and Spartak Saint Petersburg (Russia) along the way.
In recent years, Cyprus has gone tennis-crazy, and this is almost completely due to the success of one man. Marcos Baghdatis was born in Limassol and has been one of the world’s best players for a while now. Among his more famous achievements are reaching the final of the Australian Open in 2006 and making it to the semi-finals at Wimbledon in the same year. Whenever he makes a personal appearance in Cyprus, Baghdatis is surrounded by ecstatic fans.
Cyprus is revered in the world of rallying, because the island provides one of the toughest tests on the international calendar. The Cyprus Rally has been held since the 1970s, and the dusty winding roads around Limassol provide the perfect backdrop for an event that is always exciting and always a little dangerous.
It may come as something of a surprise that skiing is becoming increasing popular in Cyprus. During the winter months the slopes of the Troodos Mountains are home to a thriving skiing community, and although it may not have the wide choice of peaks that the Alps has, it has become a hidden gem of sorts in recent times.
Needless to say, the island is also home to a wonderful choice of water-sports facilities for both tourists and locals alike. Whether you’re in the mood for a little snorkeling or perhaps some windsurfing, the crystal clear Mediterranean will provide the perfect conditions to have some fun.