Interview by Natalie Christopher
Natalie: Hi Andriana! It's so nice to meet you. Thank you for talking to CYPRUS GIRLS CAN!
Andriana: Hi Natalie! It’s great meeting you too. I have heard a lot about you and the campaign.
N: Let’s start by telling me how you first got into Basketball.
A: It was my Father and Godfather who introduced me to the sport. We used to play together for fun when I was a kid. At the age of 10 I decided to join the Zenon Basketball Club.
N: Were there many girls who you played Basketball with?
A: When I first started playing I was the only girl.
I brought some female friends along to play, but they left as there were so few girls involved and basketball is a contact sport, which put them off.
N: But that clearly didn’t discourage you! Where did you go from there?
A: I was part of Zenon Basketball Club for 7 years. After 2 years of training, my coach encouraged me to start playing competitively.
I just moved to a new club, Keravnos Strovolou, last month.
This summer I played in the U18 Women's National Team in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Women's European Championships.
N: Oh wow, what a great achievement! That must have been a lot of hard work.
A: Definitely. Preparations for the Championship in June began in February, with trainings once or twice a month. A month before the Tournament, we started training daily and we had some friendly games too. After the first two weeks, 14 out of the initial 18 girls were selected. The following week, the final 12 were selected to represent Cyprus at the Championship in Malta.
N: What is a typical week like for you?
A: I attend a sports school, Athlitiko Lykeio Verginas in Larnaca, which is new and opened last year.
I train for basketball three times a week at School, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. I train with my basketball club four afternoons a week and I go to the gym either 2-3 times a week. When the championship starts we have competitions on the weekends.
N: Wow, that is a lot of hard work! Also how excellent there is a sports school, I didn’t know there were any in Cyprus!
A: Yes, there are such schools in Nicosia, Limassol and now Larnaca, Pafos and Paralimni.
N: How do you manage to balance school work and basketball training?
A: In preparation for the GSSE (Games of Small States of Europe) in San Marino in May, we had training every day, either in Nicosia or Limassol from 8pm until late. During the day I was attending school.
Incorporating training and school work was hard -
It required good preparation and forced me to be organised.
Typically preparations for the GSSE happen later in the year in July/August, it was just this year that we had to train during May, while we still had school to attend.
Even during the school year, it takes a lot of commitment and sacrifices. If you don’t have a certain program to follow you cannot balance training and school.
N: I’d love to hear about your involvement with the PeacePlayers.
A: I started playing with them 5 years ago.
PeacePlayers has local stations such as Kiti, Larnaca, Dali, Lapithos, Kyrenia, Iskele and we practice locally 2 times per week. Then once or twice a month we have our twinnings which are held in Ledra Palace. Twice a year there is a 3on3 tournament, with players from both sides. In the winter the tournament is hosted in Nicosia at Poliproponitirio Athletic Centre and in spring at the English School of Kyrenia.
There is no championship, instead
the aim is to build communication bridges and have fun.
In the summer, usually end of July, we organise a Summer Camp. We have 60 kids participating, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot, boys and girls.
PeacePlayers is more than playing basketball though. Their mission is to unite, educate and inspire young people in divided communities through basketball.
N: You recently travelled to Northern Ireland with PeacePlayers, right? Tell me about your trip!
A: It is sponsored by Erasmus+.
Twelve kids travel to each another country to practice basketball, but also learn about each sides’ conflict.
PeacePlayers International uses basketball to unite, educate and inspire young people to create a more peaceful world.
The idea is ‘Kids who play together can learn to live together’.
This time we went to Northern Ireland. We took part in sessions and workshops where we had the opportunity to develop skills that will help us both on and off the court. But most of all to meet new people and create friendships that will last for a lifetime. In the past the exchange trips have been hosted in Israel, Norway and Cyprus.
N: Oh great, this sounds excellent! So you’ve met lots of friends through Peace Players?
N: And friends from the other side of Cyprus!
N: Tell me about your plans for the future.
A: I am aiming to get a scholarship in the USA to play college basketball while studying. Those are my plans for the near future and of course to do the best I can in my new basketball club Keravnos Strovolou.
N: Oh excellent! All the best with your studies and of course with your basketball career!
A: Thanks a lot Natalie! All the best to you too for your future ventures!
N: What is your advice to other girls who would are interested in basketball but don’t know how to start?
A: Just try!
Go along to a training session near you and talk to a coach.
They are always open and welcoming to accepting new players.
For more information about getting involved with the PeacePlayers,
contact Stephanie on 99791395 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org