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Paphos twin girls mad about football

By Bejay Browne

It might not be unusual for girls to play football in other countries around the world but this is a phenomenon which is only now being gradually accepted by the Cyprus community.

Twin girls Maria and Georgia Xenofontos are 17 years old and they are helping to turn around prejudices and make it more acceptable for young girls in Cyprus to play football.

The twins grew up in New Jersey in America with their two brothers and they have the support of both of their parents. But they said that a number of their friends had been forced to quit the Cyprus national team due to pressure from their parents.

Maria and her twin sister play for U-19 (the national team) and their local Paphos team, Pafia.

Maria said, “We are behind the times here and people seem to believe that girls and women playing football is a boyish thing.”

Although the girls were born in Cyprus, they moved to America when they were four year old. They returned, with their family to live in Paphos three years ago.

Maria, whose position is goal keeper said, that they started playing football because they were living in America, where it’s very normal for girls to play football. She said that is seemed accepted in Cyprus that girls took part in activities such as ballet, volley ball and swimming.

The sisters admitted that they love to play football; and started playing little league in the States at the tender age of four. The girls are currently studying at the new high school of Yeroskipou in Paphos and said that joining the local football team helped them to make friends.

Georgia aspires to being a journalist and speaks fluent Spanish, Greek and English.Maria believes she will either be involved in nursing or landscape architecture.

They both advised other Cypriot girls to give the sport a chance.

Georgia said “We would say to other girls, get onto a team because it gives you something to do after school instead of sitting at home and watching TV.”

Children’s Arsenal football club established in Paphos

Football crazy kids in Paphos now have the chance of joining a training school established by Arsenal Football Club, its first on the island. The scheme is not about drilling children to win but helping them to improve their footballing skills and learning how to be good team players.

The Arsenal method of coaching is “about teamwork, mentality and attitude”, according to Alex Alexandrou, one of the coaches. But the school – open to children from five to 16 - could help outstanding players fulfill their dreams of playing professionally on the island and abroad because coaches from Arsenal will visit every year and stellar talent will be spotted. Other Arsenal soccer schools, as they are known, are to follow in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and possibly Polis, with them all incorporated in a league. The Paphos team will be called the Arsenal Warriors. The opportunity to open the Paphos School was offered to Tassos Makris, an ex-footballer who used to run a soccer academy in the town. Try-outs for the Arsenal Warriors and other teams have already begun. Every nationality is welcome, although training will be in English. Application forms for try-outs are available now from Alexandrou’s ‘Fat Mamas’ Restaurant on the Tombs of the Kings Road in Paphos. Training will be on Mondays and Thursdays, with games on Saturdays.

For more information call 99 301708 (between 10 am and 1 pm).


New Paphos Tigers Sponsor

We the Paphos Tigers Rugby Club are absolutely delighted to have found a major sponsor in M1 Lux (Cyprus) Ltd of Paphos.

The enthusiasm, help and support that they can bring into our club is fantastic, and with the connections that they have with ex International Rugby stars such as Andy Moore ( 26 Caps for Wales), and Director of M1 Lux (Cyprus) Ltd and Scott Gibbs (53 caps for Wales) is really invigorating, and we look forward to many varied and exciting ventures in future years.

We would like to thank John Thornton Managing Director of M1 Lux (Cyprus) Ltd for making this sponsorship happen and look forward to a long and jointly prosperous alliance working together with M1 Lux (Cyprus) Ltd and their team of professionals.

Nigel Jarvis


January 2009 Articles:

Bowling Tourists Ignored by CTO says Press Officer

NORRIS FORSTER, the Press and Marketing Officer for Bowls Cyprus who plays at the Aliathon Club, has pressed the claims of Bowls as potential saviour of tourism in Paphos.

"It would appear that we are now bringing more bowlers to the island than golfers," he said, "and the beauty is, because the game is played over here on artificial surfaces, we don't use any water.

He was talking ahead of the European Bowls Championships that take place in February (22 -March 3) at the Athena Beach Hotel in Paphos. They were held at the same venue two years ago when the all-British Cyprus team finished in ninth place out of the 12 countries taking part.

But Forster has complained that the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) take little or no notice of bowling.
"I have sent them a letter with a lot of information and figures on bowling here but have yet to hear back from them. There is never any mention of bowling in the information that they give out and we have the largest number of bowling greens in the Middle East, so it’s a shame not to promote them.

There are four bowling clubs in the Paphos district - the Aliathon, Coral Bay and Louis Phaethon bowling clubs and the Aphrodite Bowling Club at Erimi.

November 2008 Articles:

Pafos Darts League to meet Larnaca in Inter Town Event - the first at new HQ

THE FRIENDSHIPS forged when officials from he Pafos Darts League met recently in Limassol with representatives of the Larnaca Friendly League have already born fruit with the announcement that two teams from the leagues will meet each other in Inter Town matches in Paphos on November 29th.

The venue will be the new Headquarters of the Pafos Darts League at the Ambassador Restaurant on Daidalou (opp.The main Greek Orthodox Church). The Ambassador will become the centre of the darts world in Paphos with regular tournaments, exhibitions and special days being held there in the future.

Said Secretary, Terry McGovern: "We now have a great permanent venue to stage events, the first of which will be our meeting with the Larnaca Friendly League, and hopefully we can get some of the top UK players to visit us next year for exhibition matches.

"We met the Larnaca officials when we took Darts Historian Dr. Patrick Chaplin to Limassol so that he could do some research on the origin of darts in Cyprus. He met the man who started it all and representatives of the Cyprus Darts Federation and other leagues from Limassol, Famagusta and Nicosia," he added.


Baghdatis returns after injury

AS BRITAIN'S Andy Murray revels in another ATP Series win and his elevation to World No.4, Cypriot tennis hero, Marcus Baghdatis, begins the long haul back up the rankings with his appearance in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors 2008 event at Basel.

In the first round he meets Marcel Granollers of Spain This is the first time that the two players have met. In his last appearance on court, Baghdatis, was trailing Croatian Ivo Karlovic 2-1, having won the first set 6-4, in the Metz Open in France, when he collapsed in pain from what appeared a serious back problem and had to retire.
He is currently ranked at 24th in the world.

The Cyprus tennis team will next be in action on March 6 next year when they play Portugal in the B Division of the Davis Cup Euro-African Zone.

October 2008 Articles:


'Doctor of Darts' on the oche in Cyprus

PATRICK CHAPLIN is a rare academic. He has a PhD in Social History - not that unusual - but it's the nature of his subject that makes him unique. He is a Darts Historian and is known as 'Doctor Darts.

His thesis - Darts in England (1900-1939) - was the social piece of history that earned him the degree from the Anglia Ruskin (ARU) in Cambridge last year.

He is also a regular visitor to the island with his wife of 35 years, Maureen, and spent his seventh holiday in eight years here last month. While here he took a day away from holidaymaking to meet up with the officials of the Pafos Darts League, Limassol Darts Association, Larnaca Darts Association and the Cyprus Darts Federation all in Limassol.

It proved quite a historic occasion and I managed to grab the good doctor for a little while to find out what makes him so keen on this pub and social club activity.

Said Patrick: "When I set up my original Darts History website back in 2000, I had no idea how successful it would be or indeed if anyone else out there in the global Internet community was interested in the history of this great sport."

In fact, he has been staggered by the response from darts fans and within a comparatively short time this website has become among the most popular darts sites on the Planet.

Chaplin (58), who lives in Malden, Essex, is a retired civil servant, who now spends most of his time researching darts. He threw his first darts when he was seven year old at a fairground and started to play 'seriously' at the age of 12, although he never had any aspirations to be a professional player.

He worked or Essex County Council as an administrator from 1966 until he took early retirement in March 2004 at the age of 53.

It took him 10 years of part-time, self-funded research before he was eventually awarded his PhD. Tony Wood, the editor of the magazine - 'Darts World', dubbed him - 'The Doctor of Darts'.

"Darts really began to take hold after in the 1920's. In that era there was so much going on with dance, greyhounds, cinema, theatre and leisure became a family thing - if you could afford it," said Patrick!

"So brewers, publicans and licensed victuallers in the mid-20's got together to find a way to bring the working man in particular back into the public-houses. They set up a standard set of rules for darts and it went from there.

"You could say that the game of darts saved the English public-house," he added.

Darts is said to have its origins in the cross-section of a tree and an old name for the board is a butt, which infers that the bottom of a wine-barrels was used as the original dartboard. It is also said that archers used these types of targets with shortened arrows.

In recent times the game has had its ups and downs but it is certainly booming at the moment in Cyprus, where the Pafos Darts League alone has reported an increase of teams from 16 last year to 24 taking part for the 2008-09 season.

Cyprus football teams no longer the whipping boys

WITH TEAMS from Cyprus gaining qualification to the UEFA Champions League where they will be mixing with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon, it’s no longer a case of little Cyprus supplying cannon fodder for the big boys.

And the amount of money Anorthosis can earn is guaranteed at around EUR54 million.

Meanwhile, the national side entertained world champions, Italy, in their opening World Cup qualifier and were extremely unlucky to be beaten 2-1 in injury time.

Things are looking up on the football fields of Cyprus.


August 2008 Articles:

Marcos says 'Yello' to the Olympics

MARCOS BAGHDATIS has been confirmed as one of the star tennis players taking part in this month's Olympic Games in Beijing. This was announced by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The list of participants for the tennis tournament, which takes place between August 10-17, also includes World No.1 Roger Federer and 16 others from the top-20 men. Former Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivanisavich, and 17 of the top-20 women are also entered.

After several poor performances Baghdatis has dropped in the world rankings to no.29 but is ranked 23rd for the tournament.

He will not, however be playing for Cyprus in the Davis Cup against Portugal.
MTN, who are the official sponsors of the 23 year-old tennis star, are offering their subscribers a chance to meet and play tennis with him with their 'Pay-As-You-Go Marcos Pack.'

The pack gives them EUR10 free airtime and 200 free SMS. There are also 10 tennis sets to be won and two winners get a day with him. The draw takes place on August 20.

He has also worked for the Cyprus Tourism Organisation working as a sports ambassador to help sell the island around the world.

Paphos Tigers 'Fun Day'

PREPARATIONS ARE now in full swing for the delayed Paphos Tigers 'Fun Day' event.

The annual event, which mixes rugby and stalls, will take place at the Kiniras Sports Centre in Geriskipou on Sunday September 28.

The event is normally held in May each year but there was a doubt over the availability of the ground. This has now been settled and the club will be using the Kiniras Centre this season.

This year promises to be even bigger and better and should kick the new rugby off with a bang for the Tigers, who ended up in three finals last year only to lose them all.

First official training session for 2008-2009 season will be on Tuesday 5th August at the Kiniras 6.30 pm. At the end of the session on August 5, the players will vote for a captain (providing that they have paid their annual subscription of EUR25!).

The Ayios Nics 15’s Tournament is scheduled for mid-September.

Fun and sport in one day at the Tigers ‘Fun Day’.

Golf course policy halted for re-valuation

THE GOVERNMENT of President Christofias has reversed the policy of its predecessor with regards to the building of 14 new golf courses.

They are to evaluate the whole situation and decide again what is necessary and what isn’t.
It seems that the policy of the previous government was not carefully examined and was thought out in a bid to attract more tourists and give a chance for pro-government developers to make a killing.

The water required for building villas and on the golf courses themselves would have had a severe impact on the environment and on the limited supplies that the country has. The Interior Minister, Neoklis Sylikiotis, has given assurances that no permits would be issued for the creation of golf courses and the creation of villas before the government have made a full re-valuation of the government policy.



July 2008 Articles:

Tigers still looking for ground and sponsors but aim to win back titles in forthcoming season

PAPHOS TIGERS - the town's rugby club, who finished the season as runners-up in both the Joint Services League and Cup competitions - have vowed to go one better at the start of the new season in September, writes Chris Mills.

Already the new committee, elected at the AGM in May, has met and discussed the problems that beset the club at the present time. The lack of a permanent ground and the withdrawal of last year’s sponsor being the two main ones.

"We are determined to go one better next season and reclaim the league title," said President Barrie Hattam. "Always bearing in mind that although we play professionally and to win, we are also there to enjoy ourselves."

Tigers are always looking for sponsors and a fund-raiser at the Keg & Barrel recently raised EUR1700.

The club held its annual 'Awards Dinner' at the Aqua Mare Hotel at the end of June.

Paphos Tigers was founded and established in 2003 as the first independent rugby club on the island. The driving force was a group of South Africans - all ex club players from different regions of South Africa. The club has around 30 players but is always looking for fresh talent and former players to assist with coaching.
Current squad members come from - Cyprus, South Africa, Romania, Bulgaria and Great Britain – with the youngest at 18 and the oldest at 50!

The aim of the Tigers is quite simple - to bring the game to people who have played or been involved in rugby in one way or another and in that way expand the game throughout the island both on and off the pitch.

One of the club's main problems has been a permanent ground. They have used the Kiniras Sports Centre on a fairly regular basis for both training and matches but this is not always available and because of the uncertainty regarding its use the club’s annual Fun Day event this year as been rescheduled for September.

Coaching Courses
Several Tigers members have been involved in Coaching Courses. Gary Thomson, Nick Bilton, Richard Morgan, Tony Newbon, Graham Boyle, Theo Lenos, James West, Tony Thoma and Matt Lowe have all taken their Level One Officiating Coaching Course, while Thomson, Bilton, Morgan, Newbon and Boyle all went on to take Level 2 FIRA Rugby Coaching Courses. Both run by the Cyprus Rugby Federation.
Gary Thomson went on to do an Officiating Course with the RAF and is now a Joint Services Referee.
Thanks to the nurturing of Nick Bilton, Tony Newbon and James West, three Colts will be eligible to play for the senior team next season.


Aliathon take all but three trophies

THE ALIATHON Club took most of the honours when Bowls Cyprus held their second annual National Championships on the rinks of the Louis Phaethon Hotel, Geriskipou - winning eight of the 11 trophies at stake, writes Chris Mills.

The exceptions being - the Ladies Fours, won by the host club, the Men’s Four-Bowl Singles won by Loukas Paraskeva of Aphrodite (Erimi), who also featured in the Men’s Fours won by the Aphrodite Club.
Despite the very high temperature out on the green, the 48 finalists provided the audience with some very exciting games. The Men’s Pairs & Fours provided nail-biting finishes with each final being decided by the last bowl.
The Championships were held against the marine background and in the breaks between games; the hotel management provided it's usual good food and attractive ambience.

Two- bowl Singles (Philosophy of Hair Trophy) - Mieke Meijer (Aliathon) bt. Irene Owen (Aliathon) 21-10. Four-Bowl Singles (Constantinou Bros Trophy) - Linda Ryan (Aliathon) bt. Irene Owen (Aliathon) retired unwell at 13-5. Pairs (Drakes Pride Trophy) - Irene Owen & Sol Robertson (Aliathon) bt. Effro Tooms & Barbara Steele (Aphrodite) 25-8 .Triples (Henselite Trophy) - Sol Robertson, Mieke Meijer & Linda Ryan (Aliathon) bt. Kitty Colliar, Eunice Warner & Tina Woodcock (Aliathon) 27-10 (after 16 ends). Fours (Gala Leisure Trophy) - Catherine Allison, Margaret Harley, Sheila Wright & Val Williamson (Louis Phaethon Hotel) bt. Gillian Moore, Mo Turner, Effro Tooms & Pat Austin (Aphrodite) 18-10.

Two- bowl Singles (Trophy Planet) - Peter Bridger (Aliathon) bt. Newton Spores 21-7. Four- Bowl Singles (Constantinou Bros Trophy) - Loukas Paraskeva (Aphrodite) bt. Roy Bosworth (Aphrodite) 21-15. Pairs (F & E 4 x 4 Service Centre Trophy) - Alistair Colliar & Roger Humphrey (Aliathon) bt. Geoff Earle & Roger Shire (Louis Phaethon) 19-15. Triples (Taylor Bowls Trophy)- Pat Ryan, Geoffrey Gardner & Ben Hebdige (Aliathon) bt. Peter Bridger, Jim Campbell & Lindsay McMillan (Aliathon). Fours (Ioannides Honda Trophy)- Loukas Paraskeva, Rob Archer, Roger Moore & George Walker (Aphrodite, Erimi) bt. Peter Bridger, Roger Humphrey, Alistair Colliar & Lindsay Mcmillan (Aliathon)15-14

Mixed Pairs (Kleanthis Savva Trophy) - Anna Clarke & Peter Bridger (Aliathon) bt. Newton Spores & Mo Turner (Aphrodite) 22-11.

* The Aliathon Club (Kingfisher team) have also finished champions of the 2008 Tens League with 123 pts. Louis Phaethon (Larks team) were in second place with 85pts and a very close third, one point behind, was the Coral Bay (Kestrels). There were eight teams competing this season and it is hoped that more will join for next year.

Cyprus has its ups and downs in European Rugby Sevens

ALTHOUGH THERE were mixed fortunes for the Cypriot national rugby side at the European Rugby Sevens Tournament in Georgia, they can gain some consolation for putting up some good performances, particularly against the eventual winners, Wales – this year’s Six Nations champions.
They met the Welsh in their first match and stunned the watching crowd by taking a seven-point lead after only one minutes play. Unfortunately, the much-more experienced and professional team from the Land-of-our-Fathers recovered their composure and went on to win 36-7.
However, in the next match Cyprus faced the hosts, Georgia, and quitted themselves well to win 14-12.
Tragedy was to strike in their next game against Israel when captain, Andrew Binicos suffered a bad leg break and Cyprus went down 12-10. They faced a tough Bulgarian side next and despite having a depleted team battled hard to a 17-7 win.
This gave them a semi-final chance against neighbours, Greece, but with a number of players missing they went down to a 19-5 defeat.
In the play-off they gained some revenge for the earlier defeat by the Israelis, winning 17-12 to finish in seventh place out of 10 in this their first venture into European rugby. Wales won the tournament beating Georgia in the final 45-5.
Paphos Tigers had three players appearing in the tournament – George Agathocleous and the Thoma brothers – Chris and Tony.

* A HIGHLIGHT for the team was a photograph they had taken with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias aboard the plane that took them to play in the tournament. President Christofias was on his way to meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The President had taken time to walk through the economy class seats and meet other passengers. Coach Niall Doherty explained to the president that all the players, bar one, were naturalised ex-patriates.

Baghdatis appoints new coach

CYPRIOT TENNIS star, Marcos Baghdatis, a beaten finalist in last year's Halle Open Tournament, went out this year in the quarterfinals to world no.1 Roger Federer, 6-4,
Federer, who went on to win the tournament for the fifth time, uses it as a warm-up for Wimbledon and has now won 59 matches in succession on grass.
Baghdatis, who crashed out in the first round at the French Open then appointed himself a new coach – the 43 year-old Swede Peter Lundgren – who has coached Federer, Marat Safin and the British Davis Cup team.


June 2008 Articles:

May Day Mayhem for Darts

THE LATIN Club's second Random Mixed Pairs Darts Knockout proved a great success with nearly EUR300 being raised for the Paphos Hospice of St. Michael Building Funds.

The fixed entry of 64 pairs was quickly reached with a few unfortunately missing out and at the end of the day victory in the final went to Dawn Saggs and Paul Lewis, who beat Lorraine McCormack and Mick White, 2 legs to 1.

Dawn donated her winnings to the fund as did John Buttress, who won the highest checkout with a 136 score.

The main sponsor of the event, organised by Lynne and Phil Harper, was Gerald 'Investor' Morse, with help from Dave Pottinger of JJT Distribution.

Many of those entering had never played darts before. It is hoped to make the even bigger and better next year.

Football Legend Kenny Dalglish visits Cyprus

LIVERPOOL and Scottish football legend, Kenny Dalglish paid a recent visit to the island to take part in a one-off event in Paphos running a seminar at Aphrodite Hills.

Dalglish - one of the game's 'greats' - mingled with fans and admirers all wanting to swap stories.

Many of them got the chance to hear some of his anecdotes on his life in football, particularly on his beloved Liverpool Club, at the seminar. He also talked about the current state of the game and predicted (rightly as it happens) that Manchester United would take the Premier League title.

He said that he enjoyed his stay on the island and would certainly love to make a return visit.

Committee to look at Ways for Sportsmen to delay military service

IT TOOK a concerted campaign to save tennis star, Marcos Baghdatis, from being recruited into the army thus denying him a promising career in the sport. And now a committee is to be set up to establish whether young Cypriot footballers and other sportsmen have to give up their sports careers to do military service.

The committee is to look at ways in which a compromise formula can be found so that young men could still pursue their chosen sport while doing army service at the same time.

Discussions have already been held between the Defence Minister, Costas Papcostas and the Cyprus Sports Organisation, the Football Federation and other sports bodies.

"The subject is not a simple one and needs further study," said Papacostas after the meeting.

Baghdatis fought long and hard to gain an extension to perform his military service and it was only through extreme pressure and widespread publicity that it was granted to him.

"The committee will prepare a study and inform us. I hope that we can come up with concrete solutions that will be jointly acceptable," said Papacostas.

Cyprus has high hopes of medals at Beijing

CYPRUS will hope to come back with at least one gold medal from the Beijing Olympic Games. The main chances will come from tennis star Marcos Baghdatis, world skeet shooting champion, George Achilleos and Antri Eleftheriou in Skeet and Kyriakos Ioannou in the High Jump. They also have a chance of medals from Andreas Kariolou in windsurfing.



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