Gagik Tsarukian’s million did not help Armenia

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
Aug 14 2012

Gagik Tsarukian’s million did not help Armenia

Author: Sergey Lazarian, Yerevan, exclusively to VK

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At the London Olympics, Armenia was represented by 25 athletes in nine
sporting events. Compared to the Beijing Olympics, the number of
Armenian athletes did not change, but rhythmic gymnastics and
taekwondo were added to the number of sporting events. Traditionally,
Armenia’s main hope for medals has been associated with weightlifting
and wrestling. In certain scenarios, it was possible to hope for
medals in boxing, shooting and taekwondo. In other events, the
Armenians were ruled by the motto `it’s not the winning, it’s the
taking part’.

After the 6 bronze medals won in Beijing in 2008, the Armenian sports
officials’ goal was to win an Olympic gold. A fabulous prize of $1
million from the president of the National Olympic Committee of
Armenia (NOC), Gagik Tsarukyan, was prepared for the winner. The
well-known businessman promised this amount to the Armenian Olympic
team four years ago, but it remained unclaimed. This time the head of
the National Olympic Committee refrained from official statements, but
made it clear that he would do his best for the winner.

In any case, the country did not get a 14th Olympic champion (Armenia
has 13 winners in the Games, who have won a total of 17 gold medals).
At first, the beginning of the Olympics was unlucky for the Armenian
athletes. Norayr Bakhtamyan, an experienced shooter, did not manage to
get through to the final, being eliminated before the quarter-finals.
Hovhannes Davtyan, an Armenian judoka, was a footstep away from a
bronze medal. Armen Nazarian, another Armenian judoka, left the mat
even before. Arthur Davtyan, a gymnast, is considered to be a
promising athlete, but he has still not brought an Olympic medal to
the country (he came 36th in the all-round competition). Swimmers
Michael Koloyan and Anahit Barseghyan arrived in London only because
of additional vacant positions provided by the IOC and, therefore, did
not demonstrate considerable results (45th and 44th places
respectively). A much more unpleasant surprise was the defeat of the
sole representative of Armenia in boxing, Andranik Hakobyan. Being up,
he managed to lose because of a technical knockout in the final 10
seconds of the fight. Athletes for whom getting to the Olympics can
already be considered a major success did not overcome the qualifying
competitions, and this was quite expected.

The most unpleasant surprise was presented by the weightlifters. One
after another, Arakel Mirzoyan, Meline Daluzyan and Ara Khachatryan
received `zeros”, unable to lift the ordered weight; these were
athletes who could really compete for a place on the podium. An
unexpected injury to the world champion of 2010 Tigran Martirosyan at
the finish of the final pre-Olympic camp in Podolsk added to all the
troubles. Against this background, the 11th position of the son of the
famous weightlifter Yuri Vardanyan-Norayr looks like an achievement,
though it sounds ironic. Expectations were met only in respect of
Hripsime Khurshudyan, who won a bronze medal in the heavyweight
division.

The fighters had to compensate for the failures of the weightlifters.
Arsene Julfalakyan (weight category 74 kg) was a footstep away from
the gold medal, almost repeating the achievement of his father and the
main coach of Armenia’s Greco-Roman wrestling team Levon Julfalakyan,
who became Olympic champion at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Having
reached the finals, Julfalakyan Jr. (pictured) was defeated by Roman
Vlasov (Russia) in a bitter struggle. 20-year-old Arthur Alexanyan (96
kg) also did quite well. Arthur participated in two fights with a
broken rib for the bronze medal against a Turk and a Cuban, overcoming
the pain.

Yuri Patrikeev, for whom these games were probably the last of his
career, did not reach the podium. The other wrestlers (1 Greco-Roman
wrestler and 3 freestyle wrestlers) returned home empty-handed. In
addition, Armen Yeremyan, representing Armenian taekwondo at the
Olympic Games for the first time, was defeated by a representative of
the host of the competition in the fight for the bronze medal.

Thus, Armenia failed to win any gold medals in London. Knowing the
ambitions of the leadership of the NOC, there is no doubt that the
outcome of the 2012 Games will result in a serious debriefing.

http://vestnikkavkaza.net/articles/sport/30179.html
http://vestnikkavkaza.net/analysis/sport/2012-olympics/30171.html

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