Sport Digest: Futsal good, football getting better (?), an Armenian lord of the rings, etc

Futsal

Mini-success: Armenia’s futsal (mini-football) champion Tal Grig put up a successful performance in the 2005/2006 UEFA Futsal Cup group stage qualification opening round in London, reaching the next stage of the tournament. In their first group match the Armenian club defeated Albania’s champion Dinamo Tirana – 5-4, and then beat French Roubaix 7-2 securing a place in the next round.

In the third match in London Tal Grig lost to the home side White Bear, 1-2.

Thus, the first two places in the group were won by Yerevan’s Tal Grig and Albania’s Dinamo Tirana, both finishing with six points. The Londoners also had six points, but yielded to the Armenian and Albanian sides on goal difference.

Tal Grig is considered Armenia’s best futsal club for the last two years, but has not made any progress in the international arena yet.

Yerevan’s reward for winning the opening pool is a place in Group 4, staged by Hungary’s Colorspectrum Aramis Budapest and containing AGBU Ararat Nicosia of Cyprus and the 2003/2004 finalists SL Benfica. The matches will be played next month.

Football

Despite two defeats suffered in the matches against the strong Dutch and Czech sides in September, Armenia’s national football team has made some progress in the list of rankings published by the International Football Governing Body FIFA this month. In the 205-nation list Armenia now occupies the 115 th spot in contrast to the 119 th place they occupied in the previous list.

From among the former USSR countries ahead of Armenia are:

Russia – 30 th place

Ukraine – 39 th place

Uzbekistan – 57 th place

Latvia – 63 rd place

Estonia – 81 st place

Lithuania – 95 th place

Georgia – 104 th place

Turkmenistan – 109 th place

Azerbaijan – 114 th place.

And behind Armenia are only: Tajikistan – 140 th place, Kazakhstan – 146 th place and Kyrgyzstan – 152 nd place.

(According to the Football Federation of Armenia, www.uefa.com)

Judo

The world judo championships ended in the Egyptian capital of Cairo recently, with the three Armenian sportsmen participating in the competition failing to score any success. Much had been expected from Armen Nazaryan, who had won numerous international tournaments before, however the experienced fighter failed in his 3 rd fight after two victories and dropped out of the contest. Hovhannes Malkhasyan also won two fights but lost in his third. And Levon Galstyan was defeated in his very first fight. (A1 Plus)

Gymnastics

Three Armenian athletes participating in the open gymnastics championships of Iran in Zanjak brought gold medals to their country. Vahan Stepanyan won on the rings, Harutyun Meghdikyan on the horizontal bar and Artyom Avteyan on the parallel bars. (A1 Plus)

Wrestling

Armenia ’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers are in the final stage of preparations for the world championships to be held in the Hungarian capital of Budapest later this month.

According to the Armenian Sport Committee wrestling coach Lyova Vardanyan, five freestyle and six Greco-Roman wrestlers representing Armenia will defend their country in Budapest. Athletes with international experience who have good chances to win medals will be selected for the team. In Vardanyan’s estimation, 2005 was a successful year for Armenian junior and young wrestlers, and their older compatriots want to keep up the good tradition this year.

Freestyle wrestlers will engage in competition first. On September 23, they will leave for Budapest, where on September 25 they will pass weighing procedures, and the next day the fights will begin and last until September 28. Greco-Roman wrestlers will leave for Hungary on September 28 and their fights will begin on October 1. (Armenpress)

Chess

European junior chess championships opened in the town of Herzeg Novi, Serbia & Montenegro, on Thursday. Twenty-three chess-players represent Armenia at the tournament. In the first round Armenian chess-players registered 11 victories, suffered 9 defeats, and the rest drew their games. (Armenpress)