Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1417, (8 - 14 November 2018)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1417, (8 - 14 November 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Homenetmen undefeated champions

Lebanon retained the Arab Women Clubs Basketball Championship title, reports Nora Koloyan-Keuhnelian


Arab Women Clubs Basketball Championship

For the second year in a row, Lebanon’s Homenetmen Antelias women’s basketball team were crowned champions at the Arab Clubs Championship, defeating Egypt’s Ahly 83-57.

The Lebanese-Armenian team, part of the Lebanese League, remained undefeated in this, the 20th tournament of its kind, held in Alexandria from 23 to 31 October. On the way to the crown, they beat Ahly twice.

Homenetmen dominated the final from beginning to when they were crowned champions. Results of the first three quarters were 19-14, 39-26 and 63-41. Throughout the game, the champions managed to score nine three-pointers out of 27 attempts and made all their 12 foul shots.

Apart from the final game, Homenetmen Antelias played five matches, sweeping all before them. The team managed to secure first place in Group B by beating Ahly 96-72.  In the quarter-final the Lebanese beat Alexandrian Olympi Club 85-51 and in the semi-final flew past Jordan’s Al-Fuheis 97-62. Eight Arab clubs, including two from Egypt, participated in the championship.

Arab Women Clubs Basketball Championship

Throughout the tournament, the Lebanese team showed a high level of basketball skills and team spirit. “My team is a great team, we work hard everyday in practice, we actually came to Egypt knowing we will defend our title. Our opponents were great, especially Al-Ahly, but I believe we were strong enough and we deserved the trophy,” Homenetmen’s Greek coach Kapogianni told Al-Ahram Weekly.

At the closing ceremony, Ahly’s Rana Abdel-Zaher won the cup for most three-pointers and Thorayya Mohamed, also from Ahly, was top scorer, while Lebanese team’s Rebecca Akl was selected the tournament’s best player.

During the two games in which Ahly and Homenetmen met, the Alexandrian Olympi Stadium where the tournament was held rocked with vociferous cheering from both teams’ supporters. At the end of those two specific matches, the champions, led by their manager Taline Khatchadurian and coach Eleni Kapogianni, made special shoutouts to greet the 150 supporters of the Homenetmen Armenian family from Cairo and Alexandria, expressing their gratitude for attending both games to support the team.

“The organising committee in Alexandria did a very good job, it was a great tournament, you people gave us a great hospitality,” Kapogianni, who started coaching with the team only this season, told the Weekly. However, her wish was that the tournament’s schedule could be available in English too.

Homenetmen, also known by its acronym HMEM – which translates into the Armenian language as Armenian General Union of Body Culture – is a pan-Armenian Diaspora organisation founded in November 1918 in Constantinople. The organisation, which is celebrating its centennial this year, is the sports and scouting wing of the worldwide Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Party. Its motto is ‘Rise and raise, elevate yourself and elevate others with you’.

A Lebanese player netting for her team

Since its establishment, Homenetmen’s main aim has been to find a haven for Armenian children and youths living in orphanages, as well as those who were saved from the genocide committed by Ottoman Turks in 1915, and give them moral support.

After its founding, several Homenetmen chapters were established in the Armenian Diaspora, in many cities in the Middle East, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America and Australia.

Before the official establishment of Homenetmen in 1918, Alexandria’s Gamk and Cairo’s Ararat clubs were founded in 1912 and 1914 respectively, who later joined the pan-Armenian Diaspora organisation for sharing the same ideology.   

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