A race through Nicosia to mark Olympic Day ©COC

The Cyprus Olympic Committee (COC) celebrated the "Olympic Day 2017” with an event staged at its headquarters, Olympic House, in the island's capital, Nicosia.

More than a 100 participants took part in the two Olympic Runs, an under-13 800 metres race and a five kilometres event for athletes over 13. 

At the same time, 19 governing bodies from Cyprus showcased their sports for the hundreds of visitors who passed by Olympic House.

The Olympic Day celebrations were first held in 1948 by nine National Olympic Committees (NOCs) with the purpose of spreading  Olympic values and promoting participation in sport. 

Today more than 150 NOC’s celebrate it, and while June 23 is the official date for the Olympic Day celebration - a date in honor of the founding of the IOC by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 - in Cyprus the event is traditionally staged in September due to the high summer temperatures on the Mediterranean island.

The "Olympic Day 2017" event was co-organised by the COC and the Strovolos Municipality, with gambling operator OPAP Cyprus the sponsor of the event. 

An athletics club, Periklis Demetriou, was in charge of organising the Olympic Runs.

Six athletes from the Cyprus Olympic team were present at the event.

Young Cypriots playing basketball on Olympic Day ©COC
Young Cypriots playing basketball on Olympic Day ©COC

They included Milan Trajkovic and Apostolos Parellis, finalists in the 110m hurdles and discus respectively at Rio 2016. 

They were joined by Eleni Artymata, four time Olympian RS:X sailor Andreas Cariolou, who represented Cyprus in athletics and sailing at the Olympic Games three and four times respectively. 

Andri Elefheriou, who finished seventh in skeet shooting at and Rio 2016 participant, and another shooter, Andreas Chasikos, also attended the event. 

They tried out various sports and were flocked by the fans for autographs and selfies.

The Cypriot Federations which were present were those for archery, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, handball, judo, karate, modern pentathlon and biathlon, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, bowling, bridge, chess, classic vehicles, darts and sambo.

President Dinos Michaelides of the COC welcomed the visitors and athletes, saying: "Sport has a highly positive reach for society.

"With events such as this one, we help promote the Olympic values and give the opportunity to fans to learn about the various sports. 

"Our goal is to expand on this event and make sure even more people are involved every year."