Cyprus has a rising star and a world-class athlete to cheer after teenage swimmer Nikolas Antoniou brought home a silver and a bronze medal from the 2022 World Junior Championship.
The young swimmer won the silver in the 50m freestyle race and bronze in the 100m freestyle at the FINA World Junior Championship held in Lima, Peru.
After breaking the national record twice, Antoniou, 18, collected silver in the 50m freestyle race.
He set a new national record for youth and men with his 22.71 second qualification time.
The swimmer broke it again in the final, coming in second with 22.51, behind Portugal’s Diogo Matos Ribeiro, who won in 21.92.
Antoniou also brought home the bronze in the 100m freestyle race, coming third with 49.91, behind Romanian David Popovic, who appeared unstoppable, finishing with 47.37, in front of Croatian Jere Hribar (49.37).
The Cyprus Swimming Federation welcomed Antoniou’s success for adding another glittering page to the island’s rare sporting success.
With Antoniou’s two medals, Cyprus finished 15 on the medal board (with one silver and one bronze), ahead of countries like France and Greece.
The young athlete’s future appears to be bright, with his coach Stavros Michaelides, a former professional swimmer, telling media he expects Antoniou to thrive at the 2024 Olympics.
“Until then, however, there is still time, and there will be many opportunities to see the 18-year-old champion bring home medals,” said Michaelides.
Antoniou’s success at the 2022 World Junior Championship adds to recent achievements by Cypriot athletes who have made Cyprus proud.
Gymnast Marios Georgiou brought home Cyprus’ first ever gold in the men’s horizontal bar at the European Championships in Munich last month.
Cyprus collected a respectable 11 medals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, including two golds, to finish 17 in the table.
Gymnast Anna Sokolova, 18, secured two silver medals and a bronze for Cyprus, making her the best female Cypriot athlete of the games.
In Track and Field, Alexandros Poursanides won a bronze in the men’s Hammer Throw.
He threw a season’s best of 73.97m to secure a medal.
Cyprus’ two golds were in Judo (Giorgos Balartsashvili) and the Men’s Horizontal Bar (Ilias Georgiou).