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Sport and war: Swimming team girls of Aleppo won bronze medals in Yerevan

Our meeting with coaches of swimming team “Armenian youth association” of Aleppo and girls of swimming club took place in “Ararat” hotel. They had arrived in Yerevan to participate in sixth Pan Armenian summer games hold on August 2-13.


As our interlocutors told, previously there was a large number of sport clubs in Aleppo, but gradually they closed, leaving in the sphere only clubs “Armenian youth association” and “Comentmen”. Once they actively participated in both sport competitions held in Arab countries and international ones.


–         Swimming team of “Armenian youth association” has been considered as main rival of Arab team for more than 12 years. Our swimmers used to be trained in the pool of our club, which was in a dangerous zone, and was blown up during bombing. Todasy training sessions are held in the governmental pool of Aleppo where we used to train one in a year, and we are not satisfied with its cleanness, but there is no other place. As for wartime in Syria, we have almost got used to it, we are not afraid, sometimes it is horrifying. We all want to live in a safe environment, but our life is there, – says Hovhannes Sulahyan.


According to him, 7-20-aged children and young people attend trainings. 3 swimmers of the team came to participate in Pan Armenian games, many of them had come to Armenia many months ago with their families.


Lusi Sargsyan/one of the members of swimming team/ is 18. It is 5 years since she has been attending the training. Although this time she did not get a prize, but she is happy for the success of her friends. “I am very happy to have a chance to come to my homeland. I made new friends, new acquaintances. I am sure I will win in the next tournament. I like Armenia very much”.


Two bronze medals won at sixth Pan Armenian games are a great achievement for 14-year-old Garni Dishoyan. “Life has been very difficult in Allepo recently, we live in a constant sense of danger. Although trainings do not stop, they are not so frequent. It is 8 years since I started trainings with my favorite coach. I will also come next year. Here we trained in a pool named after David Hambardzumyan befor tournament, the conditions are perfect here”.


Garni has many relatives in Armenia, his family is here these days and they are planning to stay here until September. Parents will decide to live in Armenia permanently or not, and Garni does not mind.


But 19-year-old Mirey Hindoyan says she has no intention to leave homeland. She studies at Aleppo State University and does not imagine further life far from Aleppo. She has gone in for sports for many years. Although she has won bronze medal in Pan Armenian games, she is sure that she will win more.


Jak Hadat is also pleased with Pan Armenian games and team girls: “We follow sport life in Armenia. We would like Armenian swimming team to come to Aleppo and we would hold joint competitions, become closer to each other, although I understand that now it is not convenient, because of war.


Two coaches of swimming team “Armenian youth association” Hovhannes Sulahyana and Jak Hadat were hopeful to encourage pupils with double efforts after arriving in Aleppo in order to get the main prize at the next Pan Armenian games.


It should be noted that 6352 Armenian athletes from 175 cities of the world participated in the sixth Pan Armenian Games of this year. They performed in 17 sports. Athletes of the Armenian community in Aleppo were among them. Travel and accommodation costs of Syria’s 82-member delegation were covered by RA Government, providing 39,8 million AMD to “Pan Armenian Games World Committee” NGO and RA Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs for that purpose.


Anush Nersisyan


You can also watch reportage of  “Azatutyun” radio station on participation of delegation from Kesab.



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