Nicosia successfully hosted the EuroHockey Indoor Championship III (Men) from January 12-24 at the Tassos Papadopoulos-Eleftheria Sports Hall in Engomi. This national team event of the European Hockey Federation was the first ever international hockey tournament to be held in Cyprus.
Belarus and Slovakia finished in the top two positions and gained promotion to the EuroHockey Indoor Championships (Men) II in 2020. Belarus were superb throughout the competition, winning all six of their matches and scoring a total of 53 goals.
Slovakia were also excellent, losing only once and deserving of the runners-up position. Their game against each other on Sunday determined the overall classification and Belarus were the winners in a very exciting match that ended 5-2.
Scotland claimed third place, following a 4-0 win on Sunday against close neighbours Wales. Having started well, winning their opening two matches comfortably on Friday, Scotland’s fate was determined by the two losses they suffered on day two – albeit by tight margins – against the eventual top two finishers.
The host team Cyprus, in their debut indoor appearance and fielding several teenagers, played with a lot of heart and promise for the future. Cyprus gained a historic first international win in indoor hockey, overpowering Greece 4-0.
Captain Tunc Ilgin said after the match: “We’re really pleased with the scoreline… to play that level of indoor hockey with the experience we’ve had is really impressive.”
All in all, the players put in a huge effort and in the final game of the tournament pushed Slovakia all the way – briefly giving the Scots some hope – before finally succumbing to a 7-2 defeat.
At the prize-giving ceremony, in the presence of sponsors and dignitaries, the organising committee thanked all the teams, judges, umpires, sponsors and the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this a fantastic tournament. The top three teams were honoured and individual awards were also given to the best players, all from Belarus.
OPAP Cyprus was the principal sponsor of the event, which was also supported by the Cyprus Sports Organisation, the Cyprus Olympic Committee, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Petrolina, Pizza Hut, CIPA, Classic Hotel, APS Athienites Ltd, Euthor, Yiakoumi Partners Ltd, MerinoKnit Ltd, Second Cup, BR HUB and SPP Media (media sponsor).
More information about hockey in Cyprus, and details of the academy for children aged 7-16, can be found on the CHA’s website, https://www.cyprushockey.org and on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Cyprus-Hockey-1620824201465119/.