Sixteen year old Yiorgos Gougouris, a rising tennis star with a very promising future ahead of him, was killed in a road accident on Saturday afternoon and will be buried today.
Gougouris was travelling with friends to an APOEL football match when the driver lost control of the car which overturned on a Nicosia main road, near Tymvos Makedonitissas. Gougouris, a passenger in the back seat, died at the scene.
The Cyprus Tennis Federation expressed its shock and deep sorrow at the untimely death of Gougouris and conveyed its sympathy to the family, promising to stand by them in every way possible. Three other budding tennis players suffered injuries; Yiannis Neophytou, Andreas Aravis and Constandinos Christoforou, the first two being in serious condition.
Gougouris had been a member of the Eleon tennis academy from the age of five and was to take part in a European tournament organised by Eleon, set to start today. He was singled out for his talent early on and held much hope of an international career.
The Tennis Federation said that the four youngsters "were ready to spread wings and seek acclaim abroad. Yiorgos' passing is a heavy loss for Cyprus tennis". The federation is to be represented at his funeral today by President Filios Christodoulou and other members of the federation board. The Eleon tennis club is to be represented by its president Foivos Zachariades.
Gougouris' fellow players are to pay their last respects in church in a salute with their rackets, honouring the teenagers' memory through the sport he loved so much.
APOEL issued a statement on the tragic loss of Gougouris, noting that the club was shocked by the injustice of a young man's death, and on the way to watch his favourite team. "Words do little to comfort his family. We offer our condolences," the statement said. APOEL also expresses wishes of speedy recovery to the three boys injured in the same accident.
Police are investigating the circumstances of the accident.