NICOSIA, 28 May 2009 –
He made his first appearance precisely 20 years ago
during the III Games of the Small States of Europe,
which were then organized by Cyprus.
Spectators at the Makarion
Stadium were left dumfounded when the 19-year-old, then
serving in the National Guard, won the 200m and 400m
He was at the time also in
the 4x100m and 4x400m relay squad that secured a gold
Everyone who witnessed
Anninos Marcoullides during his early days and followed
his career will be familiar with his prowess as an
By 2005, the last year he
competed in the GSSE, he had claimed 21 gold and one
silver medal – the latter at his first Games – setting
an unparalleled precedent for a Cypriot sprinter.
He returned from Andorra in
1991 with four gold medals, having clinched even that of
the 400m in the Pyrenees. Marcoullides shortly after
stopped competing at this distance and focused on the
100m, 200m and 4x100m.
During the 1990s he
dominated the sport and was widely considered one of the
fastest Caucasian sprinters in the world.
The year after his
magnificent performance in the Atlanta Olympic Games he
was unable to compete in the GSSE held in Iceland, the
only Games he ever missed.
In 1999 in Luxembourg he
only competed in the 100m dash. "I had an important meet
in Germany and just went to win the 100m dash before I
left," said Anninos, who has accumulated so many medals
over the years he has difficulty remembering which Games
he claimed them in.
He distinctly recalls the
2001 San Marino Games, however, as that was the same
year he won at the Mediterranean Games in Tunis.
He competed in Malta two
years later and in Andorra in 2005, a performance which
secured his stature as an absolute champion.
"I would really feel the
pressure when competing in the GSSE because I was still
a beginner then and it's not very flattering when you
lose to an athlete who has a worse record than you,"
"During the 1990s in the 100m and 200m at
the GSSE I competed against fellow Cypriot athletes as
the level of the Pancyprian games was then higher than
the GSSE," notes Cyprus' greatest sprinter of all time
who is now a lecturer at the Limassol Sports School.