Cyprus - Culture - Sports

Sports

Governing bodies of sports in Cyprus include the Cyprus Football Association, Cyprus Basketball Federation, Cyprus Volleyball Federation, Cyprus Automobile Association, Cyprus Badminton Federation, Cyprus Cricket Association and the Cyprus Rugby Federation.

Football is by far the most popular spectator sport. The Cyprus League is now considered as quite competitive and includes notable teams such as APOEL FC, Anorthosis Famagusta FC, AC Omonia, AEL Lemesos, Apollon FC, Nea Salamis Famagusta FC and AEK Larnaca FC. Stadiums or sports venues in Cyprus include the GSP Stadium (the largest in the Republic of Cyprus-controlled areas of Cyprus), Tsirion Stadium (second largest), Neo GSZ Stadium, Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Ammochostos Stadium and Makario Stadium. Cyprus, also has a football national team which in the last decade has evolved to a promising squad within the European rankings.

Anorthosis Famagusta FC was the first Cypriot team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group stage in the 2008–2009 season. The next season it was APOEL FC's turn to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage. APOEL FC played for the last 8 of the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League after finishing top of its group in the group stage and after beating French giants Olympique de Lyonnais in the Round of 16.

Apart from the emphasis on football, Cyprus has exhibited various accomplishments in other sports. Marcos Baghdatis is one of the most successful tennis players on the international stage. He was a finalist at the Australian Open in 2006, and reached the Wimbledon semi-final in the same year. Also Kyriakos Ioannou a Cypriot high jumper achieved a jump of 2.35 m at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Osaka, Japan, in 2007 winning the bronze medal. He was recently ranked 3rd at the international level and 2nd in Europe.

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