Cypriot athlete Apostolos Parellis advanced to men`s discus final at Rio Olympic Games on Friday, after throwing 63.35 metres in the preliminary round.
Parellis, 31, is now the second Cypriot athlete to compete in the Olympics track and field final, after high jumper Kyriakos Ioannou in 2012. The final will be held Saturday.
With his 63.35-metre throw, Parellis ranked eighth. The top spot went to Piotr Malachowski from Poland and his 65.89 metre-throw.
According to the correspondent of the Cyprus Sports Writers Union in Rio, Erodotos Miltiadous, it was Parellis’ second throw of three that landed him in the finals, which will take place on Saturday at 4.50pm Cyprus time.
The competition was deemed difficult due to adverse weather conditions, and several top athletes were left out of the final.
Parellis expressed his satisfaction with his success, and said that he could have done better if it weren’t for the rainy weather.
“The (weather) conditions affected us all. Many favourites were left outside (the list of finalists),” Parellis said. The Nicosia based Gymnastic Association Stadium (GSP) athlete was close to making it to the finals in the 2012 London Olympics where he finished 13th.
He added that this was one of his greatest successes, including coming sixth last year at an international sports event. “But making it to the finals in Olympics is even harder,” he said. “It is very difficult to win a medal”.
He said that he will go to the finals “stress-free”.
Parellis also said that he was aware that he “made history” as he and Kyriakos Ioannou were the two Cypriot track athletes to ever make it to Olympic finals. Ioannou had qualified for the Olympic final in London where he finished 12th with a 2.20-metre jump.
Five Cypriot athletes competed on Friday in three different sports at the Rio Olympics.
In skeet, shooters Andri Eleftheriou and Andreas Chasikos were also fighting their respective corners. Eleftheriou failed to make it to the top six in women’s skeet and did not qualify for the finals as her 64/75 score landed her in 15th place among 21 shooters.
It was not a good day for Chasikos either. With a score of 69/75, he currently ranks 18th in men’s skeet, and is four discs short of a spot in the top six. Chasikos hopes to gain a place in the top six on day two of the qualification phase at the final two rounds on Saturday.
Sailor Pavlos Kontides competed in the 7th and 8th rounds of men`s laser, after which he will have two more rounds to go before the medal race. The London silver medallist, after coming 8th in the 7th race and 14th in the 8th race, currently ranks 10th with 75 points.
RS:X windsurfer Andreas Kariolou who ranked 19th following the final three races in the preliminary round, has found himself out of the medal race as he failed on Friday to secure a spot in the top ten. He had placed himself at the 10th position earlier in the day on Thursday, but had finished 19th.