Washington – Twenty-five athletes will represent Armenia at the Olympics games in London that start on July 27. The same number went to the games in China in 2008, when Armenians won a total of six bronze medals.
Of the 25 this time, seven will compete in wrestling, six in weightlifting, four in track & field, two in swimming, two in judo and one each in boxing, taekwondo, gymnastics and shooting. Four of the athletes are women, including two in weightlifting and one each in track and swimming.
Armenia’s team includes such veterans as Norayr Bakhtamyan, 41 in shooting and Armen Nazarian, 30, in judo, for whom this will be their third Olympics. 2008 Olympic bronze medalists Tigran Martirosyan, 24 (weightlifting) and Yuri Patrikeyev, 32 (wrestling) will take another shot at the medals.
At 18, swimmer Anahit Barseghyan is the youngest Armenian athlete in the London games; 19-year-old gymnast Artur Davtyan is the second youngest.
The 2012 European gold medalist in wrestling, 20-year-old Artur Aleksanyan and 25-year-old weightlifter Norayr Vardanyan, trained by his 1980 Olympic gold medalist father Yuri Vardanyan, are among those most favored to win medals.
Gyumri has the biggest representation on the team, with nine of the Olympians coming from Armenia’s second-largest city; eight are from Yerevan; Vanadzor, Echmiadzin, Bagramian, Hrazdan and Kasakh are represented by one athlete each; three athletes are natives of Russia. (The full list is below.)
In 2008, three of Armenia’s medals came in weightlifting, two in wrestling and one in boxing. None of the 18 athletes taking part in 2004 games won medals and one bronze in weightlifting was gained by the 24-person representation in 2000. 32 athletes represented Armenia in the 1996 Atlanta games winning a total of one gold and one silver, both in wrestling.
At least seven ethnic Armenian athletes will represent other nations.
Armenia natives Misha Aloyan (boxing, 52 kg) and Arsen Galstyan (judo, 60 kg) along with Baku-born David Ayrapetyan (boxing, 49 kg) are on the Russian team.
Artur Ayvazyan, the Yerevan-born 2008 Olympic gold medalist, will again represent Ukraine in shooting; and Vladikavkaz, Russia-born Vazgen Safaryants will represent Belarus (boxing, 60 kg).
Two out of 14 athletes representing Lebanon are Armenian. Tvin Moumjoghlian, 23, from Bourj Hammoud, will compete in table tennis; and Gretta Taslakian, 27, from Ghadir, in 200m sprint.
Armenia’s Caucasus neighbors Georgia and Azerbaijan will be represented by 35 and 53 athletes, respectively. But whereas nearly all of Georgia’s athletes are from home-grown, most of Azerbaijan’s team is comprised of foreigners recruited through financial inducements. These including eleven athletes from Russia, six from Ukraine, five from Bulgaria, three from Belarus, two from Georgia, two from Ethiopia and one from Iran.