Sports and War: Armenian athletes show solidarity with military in Karabakh

While Armenians at home and abroad in recent days have been focused on the heroic resistance of Nagorno-Karabakh’s military to Azerbaijan’s aggression, the nation’s athletic community has also joined in the national solidarity with their words of encouragement and achievements in sports.

More than three days of heavy fighting along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh left 29 Armenian servicemen dead. Twenty-eight servicemen are missing, while 101 are wounded. The fighting came to a halt on Tuesday after a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

As Azerbaijan unleashed its deadly force against Karabakh on April 2, Armenian judoka Shahen Abaghyan (55kg) beat Azeri rival Natiz Gurbanli to win the first place at the Junior European Judo Cup in Athens, Greece.

Abaghyan who serves in the Sports Club of the RA Armed Forces and is one of the ten best soldier-sportsmen, later said: “Let my achievement be the beginning of the new victories of our army”.

Germany-based Armenian WBO super middleweight professional boxer Arthur Abraham, who is in the United States now, preparing for his fight against Mexican Gilberto Ramirez on April 9 to keep his champion belt, said, as quoted by the Aravot daily:

“I admire our soldiers, the Armenian officers, commanders and the bravery of the Armenian men, I admire their courage and invincibility. Their spirit has inspired me too.” Abraham said he would dedicate his April 9 victory to the Armenian soldiers.

Armenia and Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan wrote on his official Facebook page on April 5: “On these difficult moments for our nation, let us show unity and strength. My prayers for peace in our region and my deepest thoughts for our countrymen and their families.‪”

Earlier, on April 3, U.S.-based Armenian soccer player Yura Movsisyan also wrote on his Facebook account: “Together we are Strong! Glory and honor to our soldiers!"

Many renowned Armenians and world-famous individuals supporting Armenians across the globe have been expressing their concern these days over the deadly fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, sharing their prayers and condemning Azerbaijan for unleashing a new war.