Sports have always played a crucial role in societies, contributing to the physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals, communities and nations. Their significance extends beyond mere entertainment, fostering unity, discipline, resilience and personal growth.
While headlines in Armenia, Artsakh and the region are dominated by conflicts and despair, sports and sporting events provide respite and give people, young and old, an opportunity to improve their health, and a platform for people to come together and support their athletes and national teams. Sports also can lift people up in times of crises and become a source of healing. They provide young people with role models, encouraging them to lead more active and healthier lives.
In this month’s magazine issue entitled “Sports” we present articles covering the spectrum of different sports – from special schools preparing future athletes, to water polo and gymnastics, to the more traditional Armenian sports, such as football, weightlifting and wrestling.
Wrestling is a mainstay sport in Armenia. Reminiscent of the traditional “kokh” sport popular among Armenians in the past, which was often accompanied by folk tunes during competitions, wrestling remains a favorite among sports fans.
While Armenia may be small in size and power, its national weightlifting team is one of the best in Europe. Armenian weightlifters have electrified the public with their numerous victories, and they continue to inspire each other with their record-breaking achievements.
While it is generally accepted that Armenians fare better in individual rather than group sports, football, the world’s number one group sport, still remains a favorite, and despite promising developments in the sport, challenges persist.
Henrik Hakobyan, captain of Armenia’s national water polo team, was killed by an Azerbaijani missile on the first night of the 2020 Artsakh War. Three years on, his legacy continues to inspire water polo athletes.
Despite many challenges and hurdles, the legacy of the forefathers of Armenian artistic gymnastics — Albert Azaryan and Hrant Shahinyan — continues on today as Armenian gymnasts prepare to bring home more medals.
A sports college, located in a suburb of Yerevan, is one of Armenia’s most important athletic institutions that strives to prepare athletes for the country’s national teams, to even become Olympians.