A brawl between Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations marred European Kung Fu championships in Lviv, Ukraine, where a fight between the two rival nations’ representatives had to be stopped because of a skirmish that got out of hand.
Armenia’s David Petrosyan, a native of Nagorno Karabakh, an Armenian-administered region that broke free from Baku’s rule in the early 1990s, was poised to gain a semifinal victory over his Azeri rival when Azerbaijan’s delegation initiated a brawl inside the ring that quickly erupted into the sports hall in front of cameras.
A video from the May 13 off-the-ring fight that went viral on the internet over the weekend shows more than three dozen Azeris attacking 11 Armenian team members, most of whom were underage, including with sticks. European Kung Fu Federation head Nikolay Matulevsky was also reportedly hurt in the incident as he apparently tried to intervene to stop the fistfight.
The Azeri team was eventually disqualified from the competitions for “unsportsmanlike behavior” following a decision of the Referees’ Committee.
Aysor.am quoted Armenian Kung Fu Federation Chairman Sargis Harutyunyan as voicing suspicions that the Azeri delegation had planned the attack in advance.
It turns out that the Armenian fighter’s brother, Sgt. Marat Petrosyan, is a decorated hero of the four-day Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Nagorno Karabakh in early April during which he reportedly destroyed five enemy tanks and one armored vehicle and was given a first-degree Combat Cross medal for his service.
Armenian-Azerbaijani brawls at sports competitions held in neutral venues also happened in the past. One of the biggest incidents occurred during a soccer match played by the two countries’ U-19 teams in Cyprus in 2006.
On quite a few occasions athletic delegations of the two countries avoided participation in tournaments when they had to travel to the neighboring country.