David v Goliath- Yiannos Photiou

By iSportconnect | July 30, 2012

The Cyprus Sailing Federation, which was founded in 1972, is a member of the Cyprus Olympic Committee, International Sailing Federation and European Sailing Federation. Its Board of Directors consist of representatives of all the nation’s local sailing clubs, as well as of an elected President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

The evolution of sport in the country goes back as long as its Greek related history, and even beyond. Cyprus, a country of 850,000 inhabitants, has demonstrated throughout its history a strong development in sports. However, when compared to the achievements of the big countries, one can describe the success as a small drop in the ocean. Size definitely makes a difference in sports. The cost involved to develop a top class athlete is enormous, without offering any discounts or credit to small size countries. Competitive Sailing and development of top class sailors that can make their way in the world ranking is not an easy job.

Cyprus Sailing Federation for many years has exhibited admirable sailors. In the London Olympic Games, our Federation proudly has two top class sailors competing, Andreas Kariolou in RSX and Pavlos Kontides in Laser class. Both are among the ten best sailors in each of their classes. Our Federation has the vision and the mission to develop top sailors, to compete and be present in all major sailing world events but when implementing the best, track proven strategies, one faces a disappointing reality- the lack of resources in budgets, in sponsors’ interest and on top of all, a striving competition among all sports federations to get a bigger share of the State’s subsidy. Attracting and initiating young children to sailing is not the easiest job when mass media and TV cover and publicise nothing else than football.

Decisions taken by the international sport federations can also have a devastating effect in small size countries. I refer to the recent decision of ISAF to replace RSX by Kite as of the 2016 Olympic Games. Such a decision is totally wrong, not because Kite is lesser than RSX, but simply because is near to impossible for us to make the switch considering the investment placed on RSX in material, athletes and time. Such a switch cannot be met in time by small countries, and unfairly puts us out of the Games.

Like David v Goliath, and despite of the prevailing difficulties, we look to the future with aspiration and optimism. Through hard work, we are developing programs for youth sailing, new sailing classes and above all providing adequate infrastructure and support to our top sailors. It will be an overstatement if I said that we shall prevail through this difficult environment, but we shall definitely still be present and making waves.

About Yiannos Photiou

Yiannos Photiou is a post graduate of London University in Business Management, working in the Pharmaceutical industry at the position of a General Manager. He has been serving the sport for a number of years from different positions.  For nine years he held the Presidency of the Board of Directors of the Limassol Nautical Club and has been the President of the Cyprus Sailing Federation since 2009.

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