By Constantinos Psillides
EVROKO leader and MEP candidate for DISY Demetris Syllouris announced on Monday that he would be heading an initiative to find sponsors for Cypriot GP3 driver Eftychios (Tio) Ellinas.
Ellinas, the first Cypriot driver to ever get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 race car, said last week that he was considering applying for British nationality since he couldn’t get any sponsorship from the state.
“In these difficult times, kids like Eftychios should be considered an example. They give us courage but also promote Cyprus so it is our obligation to help and support them. I promised to do what I can,” said Sylloris, following a meeting with Ellinas.
The GP3 driver thanked Syllouris for his initiative, saying he has had a sponsorship offer but he would have to abandon his Cypriot nationality to accept it. “I don’t want to have to do that. I want to race under Cyprus flag I want our national anthem to be heard in Formula 1 racing tracks,” he said, adding that he has till Friday to decide on whether he will accept the offer made and change his nationality.
Asked on how exactly he was planning to help Ellinas secure a sponsorship, Syllouris responded that he would have a talk with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the Cyprus Sports Association as well as the Cyprus Hotels Association, and privately owned companies. “We spend money in promoting Cyprus as a tourist destination anyway. I think there are more effective ways of promoting than the usual ones,” he added.
Responding to a comment made by a journalist, that Ellinas was the only internationally acclaimed athlete that hasn’t received a dime in government funding, Syllouris admitted that he wasn’t aware of that. “Some of my friends told me about Ellinas’s case and despite my work load I will dedicate many of my next 48 hours into adding two-cents worth to his efforts be cause it’s an effort for Cyprus and not one for personal gain,” the MEP candidate said.