Armenianow – More than 6,200 Armenian athletes from 36 countries of the world will have another opportunity to compete with each other in different sports in August when Armenia is due to host the sixth Pan-Armenian Games – an event held once every four years.
On August 2-13, a number of cities in Armenia are going to see sporting competitions as part of the Games that according to Chairman of the World Committee of the Pan-Armenian Games (WCPAG) Ishkhan Zakaryan are going to be “unprecedented”.
“These Games will be unprecedented not only in terms of the number of participants, but also in terms of their geography. These Games will be held in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, Karabakh capital Stepanakert, in Armenia’s cities of Gyumri, Vanadzor, Abovyan and Artashat,” Zakaryan said.
The first Pan-Armenian Games were held in 1999 in Yerevan. At that time, a total of 1,141 athletes from 23 countries participated in the Games that included seven sports. The fifth Games that were held in 2011 already brought together 3,244 athletes from 33 countries competing in as many as 10 sports.
This year seven sports have been added and now athletes are going to compete in the following sports: soccer, mini soccer, basketball, volleyball, field athletics, tennis, table tennis, chess, badminton, swimming, beach volleyball, sports dancing, golf, handball, arm-wrestling, cycling and shooting.
A torch for the 6th Summer Pan-Armenian Games was ceremonially lit on May 8 at the altar of Surb Ghazanchetsots Church in the Karabakh town of Shushi.
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan said in his remarks that the Pan-Armenian Games stand out by the fact that there are no losers in these Games, while the victories are victories for the entire Armenian nation.
“The Games are a good way of once again presenting ourselves to the world as a civilized and consolidated people that relies on its own forces, that, despite being scattered around the globe, is inextricably linked to its historical homeland, and is working to develop and strengthen the independent Armenian statehood,” Sahakyan said.
Besides going around the regions of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, the torch was also taken to large Armenian communities abroad. And already on July 27 a ceremony of Pan-Armenian Games torch blessing took place at Holy Echmiadzin, conducted by His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Three torches – lit at different Armenian churches in Karabakh, Diaspora and Western Armenia – were brought together to light one torch for the Games symbolizing the Armenia-Karabakh-Diaspora unity. 1988 Seoul Olympic Games weightlifting champion Ogsen Mirzoyan participated in the ceremony and carried the torch.
“We have no doubt that the Pan-Armenian Games will continue to strengthen the unity of our nation’s children to become a powerful force with which we will be able to cope with national and local problems and challenges in our lives,” His Holiness Karekin II said at the ceremony.
WCPAG head Zakaryan, for his part, described the Games as a bridge for the Armenia-Karabakh-Diaspora unity and the best way of uniting Armenians around their historical homeland.
On August 2, the torch of the Games will reach Yerevan to signal the start of the 6th Pan-Armenian Games.
The Games’ chief referee is Honored Master of Sports, International Referee Derenik Gabrielyan, the chief director is Aram Sukiasyan and the television director is Hrach Keshishyan.