Sport Roundup: Maybe Armenia can shoot its way into Olympic glory?

Winter Olympics

In the 2006 Winter Olympics that ended in Turin, Italy, on February 26, the last athlete to represent Armenia was alpine skier Andranik Sarkakhyan. In his first slalom the 20-year-old athlete finished 60th among 97 participants, and in the second slalom event he was 45th among 96 participants.

The Armenian sport delegation returned from Turin to Yerevan on Tuesday, February 28. National Olympic Committee Secretary General Armen Grigoryan said that Armenian sportsmen performed in Turin to the best of their abilities. He said that he in particular was impressed by the performances of Armenia’s ice-dancing pair Anastasia Grebenkina-Vazgen Azroyan, and also considered acceptable the result showed by alpine skier Abraham Sarkakhyan, praising his performances as tactically mature.

Grigoryan told Armenpress news agency that on the sidelines of the events in Turin members of Armenia’s sport delegation held meetings with leaders and members of the international and European Olympic committees and delegates of other countries participating in the Olympics to discuss the possibility of cooperation. Grigoryan said that preparing for the next Winter Olympics, Armenia’s sport structures will pay attention to sports where competition is not that strong and in which certain prospects may open for Armenian sportsmen.

Noting that Armenia has, for example, possibilities of developing biathlon, he said that it would not be bad if Armenia has at least one biathlon skier in the next Winter Olympics.

Armenian Skiing Federation Secretary General Gagik Sargsyan has already been advised to analyze the performances of the Armenian athletes and assess their prospects, including in new sports.

Meanwhile, two Armenian alpine skiers from the Pyunik club of disabled people, Mher Avanesyan and Greta Khndzrtsyan, will take part in the Winter Paralympics opening in Turin soon.

Though the two failed to qualify for the Games they have been granted the so-called “white card” by the International Paralympics Committee in order to promote the development of sport among people with physical disabilities. The Paralympics will run from March 10 through 19 in Turin, with more than 500 disabled athletes from 39 countries competing in its events.

Chess

Armenian grandmaster Levon Aronyan continues to celebrate wins in the Morelia-Linares super tournament. In the 7th round Aronyan beat Etienne Bacrot from France. Now Aronyan has 4.5 points and is only half a point behind the leader Peter Leko from Hungary, with whom he drew in the 6th round.

In the 7th round Leko drew with the world champion Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), who is now in the 7th place with 2.5 points.

The second phase of the tournament starts today (March 3). In the first round Aronyan plays Temur Rajabov from Azerbaijan whom he already beat in the first phase, playing with white pieces (A1 Plus, www.armchess.am).

Women: The world individual chess championships among women will start in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on March 10. Armenia will be represented by experienced grandmasters Elina Danielyan and Lilit Mkrtchyan.

It will be the first tournament experience for Mkrtchyan after she had a car accident in January. She missed out on the prestigious international tournament Aeroflot in Moscow following doctors’ advice.

In the first round of the world championships Mkrtchyan will play Chinese Ruan Lufei and Elina Danielyan’s opponent will be Romania’s Christina-Adele Foyori. (A1 Plus, Armenia’s Chess Federation www.armchess.am )

Football

Armenia began its 2006 season with two defeats in an international tournament in Cyprus. In the first match Armenia lost to Romania – 0-2 and in the second match they lost to the host team Cyprus with the same score line.

Recently, the Football Federation of Uzbekistan offered the Football Federation of Armenia that the two countries’ national teams play an international friendly on September 2, 2006.

However, according to the FFA, Armenia’s national team cannot accept the invitation, because Armenia hosts Belgium in a Euro-2008 qualifier in Yerevan on September 6 and the match will be preceded by intensive trainings (According to the FFA press service).