Sunday,22 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1160, (15 - 21 August 2013)
Sunday,22 October, 2017
Issue 1160, (15 - 21 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Armenian gold

Egypt returned with a gold medal in women’s tennis in the ninth Pan-Homenetmen Games in Armenia. Nora Koloyan-Keuhnelian reports from the capital Yerevan

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Hundreds of Homenetmen-belonging Armenian athletes from around the world took part in the Pan-Homenetmen Games organised every four years. This year’s games took place from 27 July to 3 August. It was the ninth edition since the tournament was first held in 1981 in Canada.
This year Homenetmen Ararat Armenian Sporting Club represented Egypt in women’s basketball and tennis, something that was unusual as the club used to take part in the Pan-Homenetmen Games with the men’s basketball team. “Our expectations were not high, as it was the first time that the women’s team had taken part in the games and because the decision was taken in quite a short time,” said Hagop Sayian, Ararat women’s basketball team coach. “There was also the unstable situation that Egypt is going through which prevented us from practicing on a regular basis.”
The Egyptian team played three games and lost them all. They were beaten by Western USA 62-12, Lebanon 39-23 and Australia 26-23. The last match could easily have been won by Egypt and would have taken the team to the semi-final, but as Sayian explains, Ararat only scored one point from eight free throws while Australia scored five out of six. “Although we lost three games it was a good experience for the team to meet other basketball teams and learn their styles. We hope that next time we will have the time to practice more when things get better in Egypt,” Sayian said.
Despite the basketball team’s disappointing results, the Egyptian delegation returned to Egypt with a gold medal in women’s tennis. Talar Mazloumian, 16, became a gold medalist after beating Galin Bazoyan from Syria 6/0 6/0, Lousine Kevorkian from Armenia 6/0 6/0 and Lilit Markarian, also from Syria, 6/2 6/0. “I was expecting to get the gold medal; actually I was aiming for it,” said Mazloumian. “In fact, my opponents were not as good as I was. I wish for stronger competition next time.”
Mazloumian started to play tennis when she was seven; this was her first competition out of the country.  “I was so proud to represent Egypt and prouder and happier still to go back with a trophy,” says Mazloumian .
More than 650 athletes from 16 countries paraded to Liberty Square, each delegation holding the flag of the country it is representing, for a spectacular opening ceremony, passing by the Northern Avenue in the heart of the capital Yerevan. The games kicked off by igniting the Olympic torch in the Erebuni region and which was given to marathon champion LevonTashjian. Tashjian took the Olympic flame and jogged in the streets of Yerevan along with 34 other athletes who were passing it to each other until it reached the heart of the city where the opening ceremony was held. Tashjian presented the flame to the Lebanese table tennis champion Tvin Moumjoghlian who took part in the London Olympic Games in 2012. Moumjoghlian in turn brought the flame to Liberty Square where thousands of spectators were waiting impatiently to see the delegation of their country. The Armenian athletes came from the diaspora to their motherland to take part in eight sports: basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, table tennis, athletics, chess and swimming.
At the closing ceremony the Homenetmen Central Executive chose the 16 most valuable players who achieved high-level results, in honour of 16 Central Executive members who passed away. Talar Mazloumian got the best women’s tennis player cup while Lebanon’s delegation was chosen champions of all games since they were winners in chess, table tennis and athletics. They also took second place in girl’s basketball, and third place in soccer, women’s and boy’s basketball.
Whether a winner or a loser, this great gathering that brought together more than 650 Armenian athletes, their families and friends was more about connecting with a rich culture and heritage. It was also a good opportunity for many Armenian youths who had never visited their home country to get acquainted with the roots they belong to and meet various communities.  
This year’s Pan-Homenetmen Games was the second hosted in Armenia; the first was in 2009. The Armenian sporting clubs which take part in the Pan-Homenetmen games every four years are members of the Homenetmen Organisation, considered the sports wing of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Party.
Homenetmen is a sports and scouting organisation founded in 1918 in the Armenian diaspora, spreading its chapters in many cities in the Middle East, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. The organisation’s aim is to prepare physically strong Armenian athletes with high intellectual and spiritual virtues. Since its establishment the organisation has played an essential role in shaping the character and leadership capabilities of Armenian youths generation after generation. The organisation was banned in Armenia in 1921 when the regime was changed to become part of the former Soviet Union and was revived after the fall of the Soviet empire.
Ararat Sporting Club was founded in Cairo in 1914, and later joined the Homenetmen Organisation and was given the name Homenetmen Ararat.
The participating teams in Armenia were from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyrpus, Egypt, England, France, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, the US, South America and the host country.

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