The Special Olympics Cyprus Open 2017, organized by the Cyprus Golf Federation (CGF) took place on Sunday, June 11, at the impressive facilities of Minthis Hills Golf Club, Tsada, Paphos. The event which is now in its 13th year is organised annually by the CGF and aims not only to bring special needs athletes in contact with the sport of golf but also to financially support the efforts of Special Olympics Cyprus, who provide year- round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports, for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
On the day, 20 special athletes were paired with local children, Minthis Hills members, staff and volunteers and competed in a unified competition in 4 disciplines from the Special Olympics Golf program (Short Putt, Long Putt, Chipping and Pitching).
In the main competition event, players from clubs around the island but mostly members of Minthis Hills GC, took part and competed in a stableford round of 18 holes. The competition started very well for H.E. Mr Ravi Bangar, Ambassador of India to Cyprus, who achieved a hole-in-one on the par-3 second hole. Favourable conditions with little wind and temperatures in the mid-twenties, did not produce the expected high scores, with four players coming in on 35 point each, and a count back required to separate them. Eventual winner was local member David Copp, with Nicosia-based Aphrodite Hills member, Nikolas Pitiris second, and Minthis Hills Captain, Bob Windsor third, while H.E. Mr Ravi Bangor, narrowly missed out on a podium finish. Another local member, Chris Furneux won the Nearest-to-the-pin competition. Worthy of note is that David Copp was the first member of Minthis Hills GC (Tsada GC, as it was known then) and also served on the Board of the Cyprus Golf Federation. The winners’ trophies were presented by Mr Leondios Tselepos, Cyprus Sports Organization (KOA) Board Member.
Mr Nick Rossides, CGF General Secretary, thanked all participants for supporting the event, and the management and staff of Minthis Hills for their excellent and generous hosting.
Dr Eleni Rossides, SO Cyprus National Director and SO International Board Member, thanked Mr Stelios Patsalides, Minthis Hills Resort Manager, for not only hosting this year’s event but also for the club’s long-standing support of Special Olympics Cyprus. She also thanked the staff of Minthis Hills and in particular David McKibben, Minthis Hills’ resident PGA qualified Golf Professional for all their support and help. Dr Rossides, on behalf of SO Cyprus, presented Mr Patsalides, Mr McKibben and Mr Rossides with plagues of appreciation.
From left to right: Nick Rossides (CGF General Secretary), Stelios Patsalides (CGF Vice-President), David Copp (winner), Leondios Tselepos (KOA Board Member)