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The Info List - Sport In Armenia





A wide array of sports are played in Armenia. Popular Sports in Armenia
Armenia
include football, basketball, volleyball and hockey.[1] Further, the country sends athletes to the Olympics
Olympics
in boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, judo, gymnastics, track and field, diving, swimming and shooting.[1] Armenia's mountainous terrain provides great opportunities for the practice of sports like skiing and rock climbing. Being a landlocked country, water sports can only be practiced on lakes, notably Lake Sevan. Competitively, Armenia
Armenia
has been very successful at chess, weightlifting, and wrestling at the international level. Armenia
Armenia
is also an active member of the international sports community, with full membership in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Federation of International Bandy (FIB), and International Ice Hockey
Hockey
Federation (IIHF). It also hosts the Pan-Armenian Games.

Contents

1 Olympics
Olympics
as part of the USSR 2 Olympics
Olympics
after Independence 3 Popular sports

3.1 Football 3.2 Chess 3.3 Basketball 3.4 Wrestling 3.5 Weightlifting 3.6 Boxing 3.7 Artistic gymnastics 3.8 Futsal

4 Other growing sports 5 Organizations 6 Modern rebuilding efforts 7 References 8 External links 9 See also

Olympics
Olympics
as part of the USSR[edit]

Tsaghkadzor
Tsaghkadzor
Olympic Sports Complex, opened in 1967 specifically to host the preparation of the Soviet athletes for the 1968 Summer Olympics
Olympics
in Mexico City

See also: List of Armenian Olympic medalists Prior to 1992, Armenians
Armenians
would participate in the Olympics representing the USSR. As part of the Soviet Union, Armenia
Armenia
was very successful, winning plenty of medals and helping the USSR
USSR
win the medal standings at the Olympics
Olympics
on numerous occasions. The first medal won by an Armenian in modern Olympic history was by Hrant Shahinyan (sometimes spelled as Grant Shaginyan), who won two golds and two silvers in gymnastics at the 1952 Summer Olympics
Olympics
in Helsinki. To highlight the level of success of Armenians
Armenians
in the Olympics, Shahinyan was quoted as saying:

“ Armenian sportsmen had to outdo their opponents by several notches for the shot at being accepted into any Soviet team. But those difficulties notwithstanding, 90 percent of Armenian athletes on Soviet Olympic teams came back with medals.[2] ”

Armenia
Armenia
contributed several more notable gymnasts to the powerful Soviet gymnastics team, including world and Olympic champions Albert Azaryan, Eduard Azaryan
Eduard Azaryan
and Artur Akopyan. Olympics
Olympics
after Independence[edit] Main article: Armenia
Armenia
at the Olympics Armenia
Armenia
first participated at the 1992 Summer Olympics
Olympics
in Barcelona, under a unified CIS team, where it was very successful. Despite only having five athletes Armenians
Armenians
won 4 medals. Hrachya Petikyan
Hrachya Petikyan
won gold in sharp shooting, Israel Militosyan
Israel Militosyan
won gold in weightlifting, and in wrestling Mnatsakan Iskandaryan
Mnatsakan Iskandaryan
won gold and Alfred Ter-Mkrtychyan won silver. Since the 1994 Winter Olympics
Olympics
in Lillehammer, Armenia
Armenia
has participated as an independent nation. Armenia
Armenia
participates in the Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
in boxing, fencing, wrestling, weightlifting, judo, gymnastics, track and field, diving, swimming, and sharp shooting. It also participates in the Winter Olympic Games in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and figure skating. Popular sports[edit] Football[edit]

Zepyur Football Training Camp
Zepyur Football Training Camp
in Kotayk Province

Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium

Main article: Football in Armenia Armenia
Armenia
used to play as part of the USSR
USSR
national football team at the international level. Their most successful team was Yerevan's FC Ararat, which had claimed Soviet championship in the 1973, and had also gone to post home victory against FC Bayern Munich
FC Bayern Munich
in the 1974-75 European Cup. Armenia
Armenia
played as part of the USSR
USSR
until 1992, when the Armenian national football team played their first official match, representing solely Armenia, against Moldova. The national team is controlled by the Football Federation of Armenia. The Armenian Premier League is the top football competition in Armenia. The league currently consists of eight teams, and relegates to the Armenian First League. Over the years, the league has evolved from a small competition, consisting of only eight teams to two separate divisions. Armenia
Armenia
also has many football venues, such as the Hrazdan Stadium
Hrazdan Stadium
and Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
is currently the most prominent footballer in Armenia

Nikita Simonyan
Nikita Simonyan
was a member of the Olympic gold medal winning Soviet Union national football team at the 1956 Summer Olympics
Olympics
and a four-time Soviet Top League and two-time Soviet Cup
Soviet Cup
winner playing for FC Spartak Moscow. Simonyan also became the Soviet Top League top goalscorer three times. He also holds the record for most league goals scored for Spartak Moscow at 133. After retiring from football, he became the head coach of Spartak and later became the manager of both Spartak and FC Ararat Yerevan. Both teams won the Soviet Top League under Simonyan's management. Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
is the current Captain of the Armenian national football team and the team's star player. Mkhitaryan has won the Armenian Premier League
Armenian Premier League
four times and the Armenian Supercup twice as a player for FC Pyunik. He has also been given the Armenian Footballer of the Year award twice. As of 14 November 2012, Mkhitaryan is the second top goalscorer of all time for the Armenian national team with 10 goals. Many other Armenian players have played in European domestic leagues such as Arthur Petrosyan, Sargis Hovsepyan, Roman Berezovsky, Edgar Manucharyan, Yura Movsisyan
Yura Movsisyan
and many others. Many Armenian diaspora
Armenian diaspora
footballers represented their country of birth, with the most notable players including Youri Djorkaeff
Youri Djorkaeff
and Alain Boghossian who were both part of the winning French team in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Andranik Eskandarian
Andranik Eskandarian
and Andranik Teymourian
Andranik Teymourian
of Iran, Alecko Eskandarian
Alecko Eskandarian
of the United States, Kevork Mardikian and Mardik Mardikian of Syria, Wartan Ghazarian and Hagob Donabedian of Lebanon, etc. Chess[edit]

FIDE World Ranked #2 Levon Aronian

Main article: Chess
Chess
in Armenia Chess
Chess
remains the most popular mind sport in Armenia
Armenia
as well as among the most popular sports in general. It is widely played in Armenia, and in the Armenian diaspora, where the Armenian schools encourage it as a curricular activity. Ethnic Armenian chess players have been very successful on the international chess scene. Notable chess players of Armenia
Armenia
include Tigran Petrosian, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian, Sergei Movsesian
Sergei Movsesian
and Rafael Vaganian. The legendary chess player Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
is of Armenian descent. Armenia
Armenia
has won the European Team Chess
Chess
Championship in both the men (1999) and women (2003) sections. The 1999 men team was made up of Smbat Lputian, Artashes Minasian, Ashot Anastasian, Levon Aronian
Levon Aronian
and Arshak Petrosian. The 2003 women team was made up of Elina Danielian, Lilit Mkrtchian
Lilit Mkrtchian
and Nelly Aginian. Levon Aronian
Levon Aronian
won the Chess
Chess
World Cup in 2005. In 2006, the Armenian Chess
Chess
Team of Levon Aronian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian, Karen Asrian, Artashes Minasian, and Smbat Lputian won the Chess
Chess
Olympiad in Turin. Two years later, Armenia
Armenia
successfully defended their Olympiad title with a second consecutive win in Dresden, the team being made up of Levon Aronian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian, Tigran L. Petrosian
Tigran L. Petrosian
and Artashes Minasian. Armenia
Armenia
won the World Team Chess
Chess
Championship in 2011, against the top ten teams of the world, including Russia and China. Members of the Armenian chess team were Levon Aronian, Sergei Movsesian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian
Gabriel Sargissian
and Robert Hovhannisyan. The Armenian Chess
Chess
Team won the Olympiad title for a third time in 2012 at the Istanbul-hosted Chess
Chess
Olympiad. The team consisted of Levon Aronian, Sergei Movsesian, Vladimir Akopian, Gabriel Sargissian and Tigran L. Petrosian. Armenia
Armenia
currently ranks 5th on the all-time Chess
Chess
Olympiad medal table despite only competing since 1992. The nation was also a contributing power to the still #1 ranked Soviet Union. Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian
himself is still ranked #1 for the best individual results in the open section. Basketball[edit]

Armenia
Armenia
national basketball team at the Mika Arena

Despite the popularity of basketball in Armenia, the country's national team only recently made headlines internationally through winning the 2016 FIBA European Championship for Small Countries. Armenia's best basketball players all play outside of the country, mostly in the United States and Russia. The first ever season of the professional domestic basketball competition of Armenia
Armenia
known as Basketball
Basketball
League A was launched in October 2017 with 7 participating teams, representing the cities of Yerevan
Yerevan
(4 teams), Gyumri, Artik and Stepanakert.[3] Wrestling[edit] Main article: Wrestling
Wrestling
in Armenia Wrestling
Wrestling
has been a successful sport in the Olympics
Olympics
for Armenia. Half of the twelve Armenian Olympic medalists and were wrestlers. At the 1996 Summer Olympics
Olympics
in Atlanta, Armen Nazaryan
Armen Nazaryan
won the gold in the Men's Greco-Roman Flyweight (52 kg) category, and Armen Mkrtchyan won the silver in Men's Freestyle Paperweight (48 kg) category, securing Armenia's first two medals in its modern Olympic history. With Armenia's only gold medalist, Nazaryan, only two silver medalists, Mkrtchyan and Arsen Julfalakyan, and half of entire Olympic medalists being wrestlers, wrestling is Armenia's most successful Olympic sport. Armenia
Armenia
hosted the 2010 FILA Wrestling
Wrestling
World Cup. The Armenian wrestling team came in third place overall and Armenian wrestlers individually won three of the seven gold medals. Traditional Armenian wrestling is called kokh, and practiced in traditional garb; it was one of the influences included in the Soviet combat sport of sambo, which is also very popular. Weightlifting[edit] Main article: Weightlifting in Armenia Weightlifting has also been a successful sport for Armenia
Armenia
in the Olympics, with Arsen Melikyan winning the bronze medal in Men's middleweight (77 kg) category at the 2000 Summer Olympics, which was the independent Republic of Armenia's first Olympic medal in weightlifting. In April 2007, the Armenian national team won the 2007 European Championships in Strasbourg, with 10 gold medals.[4] Nazik Avdalyan and Tigran Gevorg Martirosyan
Tigran Gevorg Martirosyan
both became World Weightlifting Champions in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Before the establishment of an independent Armenia, Armenian weightlifters like Yurik Sarkisyan, Oksen Mirzoyan
Oksen Mirzoyan
and Yurik Vardanyan competed for the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and were very successful. Vardanyan won the gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics, becoming the world's first weightlifter to achieve 400 point totals in the 82.5 kg weight category. He earned the title Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR
USSR
in 1977, and was awarded the Order of Lenin
Order of Lenin
in 1985. Yurik Vardanyan, Yurik Sarkisian and Oksen Mirzoyan
Oksen Mirzoyan
set multiple world records during their distinguished careers. Boxing[edit] Main article: Boxing
Boxing
in Armenia Boxing
Boxing
is a popular sport in Armenia. The country has regularly sent competitors to the Olympics, but met with little success. Though Armenia
Armenia
has had little success in amateur boxing, the country has still produced an Olympic medalist, Hrachik Javakhyan, and a World Champion, Nshan Munchyan. Armenian boxers have had more success in professional boxing. Vic Darchinyan and Arthur Abraham
Arthur Abraham
have both won world titles in different weight divisions. Susi Kentikian
Susi Kentikian
has also won world titles in women's boxing. Khoren Gevor is a four-time world title challenger. Vanes Martirosyan and Karo Muratyan
Karo Muratyan
are both rising contenders. Artistic gymnastics[edit] Armenia
Armenia
has produced many Olympic champions in artistic gymnastics during the Soviet days, such as Hrant Shahinyan, Albert Azaryan
Albert Azaryan
and Eduard Azaryan. The success of the Armenian gymnasts in the Olympic competitions has greatly contributed in the popularity of the sport. Thus, many prominent competitors represent the country in the European and World championships, including Artur Davtyan
Artur Davtyan
and Harutyun Merdinyan. The capital Yerevan
Yerevan
has many state-owned schools of artistic gymnastics, including the Albert Azaryan
Albert Azaryan
School opened in 1964 and the Hrant Shahinyan
Hrant Shahinyan
School opened in 1965. Futsal[edit] Futsal
Futsal
is very popular in Armenia. Many companies as well as universities have their own teams who participate in the Futsal
Futsal
League of Armenia. Currently, 8 teams take part in the Armenian futsal league, representing the cities of Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Kapan and Alaverdi. The Mika Sports Arena
Mika Sports Arena
of Yerevan
Yerevan
is the home of the Armenia
Armenia
national futsal team. Other growing sports[edit]

The Armenian national ice hockey team
Armenian national ice hockey team
is run by the Ice Hockey Federation of Armenia. They hosted the Division III, Group B tournament of the 2010 World Championships.

In an attempt to promote figure skating and ice hockey in Armenia, the Irina Rodnina Figure Skating Centre
Irina Rodnina Figure Skating Centre
was opened in Yerevan, in December 2015.[5]

Incourt Tennis
Tennis
Complex in Yerevan

Tennis
Tennis
is quite popular in Armenia. Sargis Sargsian
Sargis Sargsian
is the best tennis player that represented the country in international level. He is a 3-time Olympian who won the 1997 Hall of Fame Tennis
Tennis
Championships in singles and the 2003 Citi Open
Citi Open
and 2003 BRD Năstase Țiriac Trophy
BRD Năstase Țiriac Trophy
in doubles. Certain members of the Armenian diaspora
Armenian diaspora
like Andre Agassi, David Nalbandian
David Nalbandian
and the Maleeva sisters have excelled in the sport.

Rugby union in Armenia
Armenia
is among the growing sports. The Armenia national rugby union team has drawn much of its strength from the Armenian diaspora, and the fact that there are many Armenian rugby players in France. It has also drawn strength from the popularity of rugby in neighbouring Georgia.

Vanadzor
Vanadzor
ski resort

Skiing
Skiing
is also among the growing sports in Armenia. The mountainous nature of the country has allowed for the development of the sport, especially after the establishment of the Tsaghkadzor ski resort
Tsaghkadzor ski resort
in 1986. In general, the skiing season in Armenia
Armenia
starts in mid-December and stretches well into March. There are ski resorts in Vanadzor
Vanadzor
and Jermuk
Jermuk
as well.

Field hockey
Field hockey
is mainly popular in the town of Hrazdan. It is home to the only field hockey venue of Armenia, with a capacity of 1,500 seats. Hrazdan Hockey
Hockey
Club occasionally represents the country in several regional and international tournaments.[6] The Soviet-Armenian player and 1980 Olympic bronze medalist Sos Hayrapetyan[7] played for the club between 1988 and 1992.[8]

Windsurfing
Windsurfing
in Sevan

Windsurfing
Windsurfing
and kitesurfing are becoming popular in Armenia. It was first introduced by the initiative of the 2nd president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan, who founded the Yerevan
Yerevan
Yacht Club at the end of the 1990s.[9] The sport is being regulated by the Professional Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing
Federation of Armenia. The competitions regularly take place at the Yerevan
Yerevan
Lake, Lyon Park of Yerevan
Yerevan
and Lake Sevan.[10]

Equestrian sport in Armenia
Armenia
was founded in 1953 and is currently directed by the Federation of Equestrian sport of Armenia
Armenia
(FEA), globally recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI). With the increasing interest towards the equestrian sport in Armenia, many equestrian centres were opened in Armenia, including the Hovik Hayrapetyan Equestrian Centre
Hovik Hayrapetyan Equestrian Centre
and Mirage equestrian centre in Yerevan, Ara and Aytsemnik equestrian centre in Aknalich
Aknalich
(near Vagharshapat), and Ayrudzi horse-riding club in Ashtarak.

Cycling
Cycling
as a sport is becoming popular among the young Armenian generation. The Yerevan Velodrome
Yerevan Velodrome
is an outdoor track cycling venue with international standard, opened in 2011 to replace the old venue of the Soviet days.[11] Edgar Stepanyan of Armenia
Armenia
became champion of the scratch race in the 2015 junior UEC European Track Championships.[12]

Recently, MMA has gained massive popularity in Armenia, through the efforts of the Armfighting Professional Federation. It was founded in Yerevan
Yerevan
in 2005 by Hayk
Hayk
Ghukasyan and currently runs several branches throughout the provinces of Armenia
Armenia
as well as Artsakh, with more than 2,000 athletes.[13]

Organizations[edit] Homenetmen
Homenetmen
and AGBU
AGBU
are the two biggest organizations that are devoted to athletics among Armenians. They, notably Homenetmen, have opened chapters all across the globe, wherever an Armenian community is present. Homenetmen
Homenetmen
organizes the Pan- Homenetmen
Homenetmen
Games each year, when the organization's members gather in a host city to play friendly matches against each other in various sports such as football, basketball, athletics, ice hockey, and volleyball. Modern rebuilding efforts[edit]

Olympavan, the training complex of the Armenian Olympic Committee
Armenian Olympic Committee
in Yerevan

As of the 2016 state budget, the government of Armenia
Armenia
allocates around US$ 3.83 million annually for sports, and gives it to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, the body that determines which programs should benefit from the funds.[14] Due to the lack of success lately on the international level, in recent years, Armenia
Armenia
has rebuilt 16 Soviet-era sports schools and furnished them with new equipment for a total cost of $1.9 million. The rebuilding of the regional schools was financed by the Armenian government. About $9.3 million has been invested in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor
Tsaghkadzor
to improve the winter sports infrastructure, because of dismal performances at recent winter sports events. In 2005, a cycling center was opened in Yerevan, with the aim of helping produce world class Armenian cyclists. The government has also promised a cash reward of $700,000 to Armenians
Armenians
who win a gold medal at the Olympics. Rector of the Yerevan
Yerevan
State Institute of Physical Culture Vahram Arakelian believes that Armenia
Armenia
will produce Olympic champions in 2016, because by that time “the work of new coaches and their influence on their trainees will be seen.”[15] The Football Federation of Armenia
Armenia
has opened 3 modern football training academies in Yerevan, Gyumri
Gyumri
and Vanadzor, in 2010, 2014, and 2016 respectively. References[edit]

^ a b World info ^ Last interview with Shahinian before death quote ( Armenia
Armenia
Now). ^ Բասկետբոլ. Մեկնարկում է Ա լիգայի կանոնավոր առաջնությունը ^ (in French) Results of the 2007 European Weightlifting Championships ^ Yerevan
Yerevan
has an up-to-date figure skating and ice hockey centre ^ The revival of filed hockey in Armenia ^ "Международные турниры EURO 1983: 5 МИНУТ ДО ЗОЛОТА" (in Russian). ussr-fieldhockey-euro1983.blogspot.com. Retrieved 6 February 2013.  ^ АЙРОПЕТЯН СОС ДЕРЕНИКОВИЧ. sportufo.ru ^ About the Windsurfing
Windsurfing
and Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing
Federation of Armenia ^ Windsurfing
Windsurfing
and kitesurfing competitions in Armenia ^ Renco.it: Yerevan
Yerevan
Velodrome ^ Edgar Stepanyan track cycling ^ Armfighting Professional Federation ^ 2016 Government budget of Armenia ^ Armenia
Armenia
Now

External links[edit]

Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs National Olympic Committee of Armenia Armenian Athletic Federation Armenia
Armenia
Basketball
Basketball
at Eurobasket.com Armenian Chess
Chess
Federation Pan-Armenian Games BBC iPlayer - Armenia: the cleverest nation on earth Famous Armenian Sportspeople

See also[edit]

Armenian Premier League Armenia
Armenia
national football team Armenia
Armenia
national under-21 football team Armenian national ice hockey team Armenia
Armenia
national rugby union team Armenia
Armenia
at the Olympics

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Sport in Armenia

Main sports

Football in Armenia Chess
Chess
in Armenia Wrestling
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Armenia
Armenia
at the Olympics Armenia
Armenia
at the Paralympics Armenian Olympic Committee List of Armenian Olympic medalists

Football

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Armenia
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Chess

Armenian Chess
Chess
Federation Armenian Chess
Chess
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