By Evie Andreou
STAYING true to its goal of becoming a sports-tourism destination, Larnaca will host a series of international events this year ranging from mountain bike races to sailing competitions.
Sports tourism extends the tourism season and brings social, economic and cultural benefits, according to the Larnaca municipality, saying these promote the town’s cultural history, year-round mild weather and beaches as an ideal destination for sports and recreation.
The events are been organised in cooperation with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, local and international sports associations, various government agencies and travel agents.
From February 5 to 15, the Cyprus Grand Prix will take place at the Larnaca Olympic Shooting Range, while two months later, from April 24 to May 4, the International Shooting Sport Federation’s (ISSF) world cup competition will be hosted at the same venue.
The annual Cyprus Sunshine Cup, one of the most famous mountain bike races worldwide, will take place between February 26 and March 1. Each year, renowned athletes from all over the world take part, including world and Olympic champions.
The Cyprus Women’s Cup will take place between March 2 to 12 for the eighth consecutive year, as part of the pre-season training of twelve international women’s football teams including England, Scotland, Belgium, Italy, Canada, Australia and Holland.
After the successful organisation of the 14th annual under-21 international volleyball federation (FIVB) World Championship last year, Larnaca will host the tenth European Universities Beach Volleyball Championship between June 16 and 21.
More than 100 athletes are expected to take part in the games with around 100 escorts who will stay in three and four star hotels in the Phinikoudes seafront area, giving a boost to the town’s economy.
In July, windsurfers will have the opportunity to surf between Larnaca and Batroun in Lebanon, as part of the Larnaca-Batroun relay agreed between the two towns’ mayors Andreas Louroudjiatis and Marcelino al-Harak last November.
Other events this year include the International Muay Thai championship in July and the Cyprus-Israel Sailing Regatta in October.