September 30, 2023

By Chris Elliott…..

Over the years I have had the honour of visiting Erenkoy a number of times and on one occasion with my late partner Margaret Sheard when we arrived we were ushered into the cemetery given identification badges and instructed to, position ourselves with the press core, and remain there until the TRNC government and other VIPs arrived where we then proceeded to record the sad but very proud occasion as written here by Margaret.

So it’s been a few years now since I visited Erenkoy and this year I decided to go as a member with the Girne A.A. Archery Team (GATE) to a competition being held there between a number of archery teams.

Having been to Erenkoy a number of times in the past I knew it would be very hot and carrying my archery equipment with a bad knee to the archery field did not appeal to me so I decided to go as a spectator.

Times have changed there with greater access for coaches and this time under the supervision of organisers Osman and Aysen Tez, the coaches were directed to the archery field where they offloaded archers and their equipment and then proceeded with other helpers to setup the shooting ranges with their targets.

The Turkish Cypriots are wonderful people and so caring and I was brought a chair to sit on and then given refreshments and fruit with other archers checking that I was ok and talking to me.

When the competition completed around mid-day lots of people started queuing on the archery field to collect their complimentary meals and refreshments from the Turkish Cypriot army catering unit so I joined the queue and at that time the competition awards started being presented and very soon Aysen Tez came over to me with one of the archers and said please come with me we need you and my friend will bring your meal.

So going back to the presentation I was called forward by Osman Tez who gave me a gold medal and not for competing on that day and I understand in his Turkish speech he said for supporting their club and also working so hard with determination to improve my archery skills and through the ongoing tuition I have been receiving with constant advise of what I need to do to improve.

What wonderful caring people the Turkish Cypriots are and there is a strong bond growing between us despite the language difficulties.

Later I went over to the main entertainment area where I stood and watched TRNC President Ersin Tatat and other government ministers and VIPs make further presentations and as it was finishing I was approached by another kind man who came and insisted I join a party of Turkish Cypriots military and VIP’s and was then brought another meal which I had to gratefully decline but enjoyed a nice cold Ayran.

Now as all the archery teams had left the area, I decided to make the long uncomfortable hike to the coaching parking area where I found my coach got on board and shortly after this it went to the archery field to collect other archers for the long slow journey back to the TRNC and by the time I came home I was exhausted and slept for at least 3 hours.

I am disappointed I did not compete in this competition but will now continue with my training on a longer 30M range and with another evening competition coming soon I hope to test myself for improved performance.

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