Sport Digest: Armenian sportsmen busy in international competitions

Chess

An international chess tournament currently in progress in the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Stepanakert, has drawn leading chess players from Armenia, the United States, Russia, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and Moldova.

The ten-day event (October 1-11) is the second international chess tournament to be held in Karabakh after last year’s Tigran Petrosyan Memorial (dedicated to the 75th birthday of the twice world champion in 1963 and 1966).

The tournament is organized by the Chess Academy of Armenia in conjunction with the Government of Nagorno Karabakh.

It consists of two tournaments (the “A” and “B”) of ten players each running in parallel.

Headlining the event are five players who have recently been rated 2700 or more, namely the Grandmasters Ivanchuk (Ukraine’s top player), Aronian (Armenia's highest rated player), Dreev (perennial Russian team star), Sokolov (the top Dutch player), and Bologan (Moldova’s number one).

“This tournament is very significant for the chess world,” one of the organizers of the event, member of the governing board of the Chess Academy of Armenia Aram Hajian told RFE/RL this week. “There has never been a tournament of this strength held anywhere in the Caucasus – in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, nor has such a tournament been held in the Middle East. It is one of the top chess events happening this year anywhere in the world.”

For live games, commentary and news from the tournament visit www.karabakh2005.com

Football

Armenia head coach Henk Wisman has invited national team players for training assemblies beginning today (October 7) in preparation for next Wednesday’s clash against Andorra – the last match for both teams in the World Cup 2006 qualifying campaign.

If Armenia manage to beat Andorra on October 12, they will be able to snatch the sixth spot from the Andorrans who now occupy this place with five points (before their last game in this qualifying campaign, Armenia have only 4 points after 11 matches played, a point less than Andorra, and lie bottom in Group 1). A defeat or a draw in next week’s match will mean that Armenia will finish last in the group.

Armenia and Andorra so far have played four times, with Armenia winning in all the four matches, including a memorable 3-0 away victory in October 2001. In the current qualifying campaign Armenia already beat Andorra in Yerevan – 2-1.

(According to the Football Federation of Armenia)

Wrestling

The world championships in Greco-Roman wrestling ended in the Hungarian capital of Budapest recently. None of the seven athletes representing Armenia managed to win medals. Meanwhile, Armen Nazaryan (60 kg) performing under Bulgaria’s flag won the world champion’s title. (A1 Plus)

Weightlifting

Arayik Mirzoyan from Echmiadzin (62 kg) has won a silver medal in the European junior weightlifting championships that began in Slovakia this week. Mirzoyan, the son of Olympic champion Ogsen Mirzoyan, showed the result of 270 kg in snatch, clean and jerk combination.

Mirzoyan was the first of the weightlifters representing Armenia to have engaged in the competition. The team’s head coach Ashot Mkhitaryan and coach Ogsen Mirzoyan expect good results also from the rest three athletes representing Armenia – Aghvan Melkonyan from Gyumri (77 kg), Aren Hakobyan from Vanadzor (more than 105 kg), and Tigran Martirosyan from Gyumri (69 kg). (Armenpress)

Boxing

Armenian boxers had a successful performance in an international boxing tournament that took place in the Czech city of Ostrava. Gabriel Tolmajyan (54 kg), Hrachya Javakhyan (60 kg) and Andranik Hakobyan (75 kg) won in their weight categories. Artyom Hovhannisyan (64 kg) and Samvel Matevosyan (69 kg) won the bronze. The only Armenian boxers who returned from the tournament empty-handed are Artak Malumyan and Edgar Manukyan. (A1 Plus)