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ANN: Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Blessed the Sixteen Armenian Athletes

By Bedross Der Matossian

JERUSALEM- 4th of August 2003. In an environment of political
skepticism and economical instability in the region, the Armenian
community of Jerusalem is sending its youth to Armenia in order to
take part in the Pan-Armenian games. For the first time sixteen
Armenian athletes from Jerusalem are going to participate in the
third international Pan-Armenian games which will be held in Yerevan,
the capital city of Armenia between August 16 to 24.

On August 4, the Armenian athletes met with the Armenian Patriarch
of Jerusalem His Beatitude Torkom Manoogian and received his
blessings. The Patriarch congratulated the Armenian athletes
for participating in the Pan-Armenian games for the first time by
representing the Holy City of Jerusalem. “It is not important to win
or to lose; it is more important to keep the high spirit in these
games,” said his Beatitude.

The sixteen Armenian athletes, who are leaving Jerusalem on the 5th
of August, are going to compete in three games: 12 of them are going
to compete in mini-football, 5 in Athletics and 2 in Table Tennis.

According to Rupen Nalbandian (22), one of the organizers who is
going to compete in running and mini football, the organizing body
has been working hard since April to realize this goal and mobilize
16 Armenian athletes to take part in the Pan-Armenian games. “It has
been a difficult task, since it is for the first time that we are
participating in such an extraordinary event. I am happy that in
this difficult political and socio-economic situation we are able
to organize this group,” commented Nalbandian. On the other hand,
Harout Baghamian (22) who is leading the group with Nalbandian said,
“We are proud to participate in the games by representing the Holy
City of Jerusalem; it is a big task to accomplish but we hope that
we will reach our aim which is not necessarily victory itself but to
build a stronger tie both with our Homeland and the Armenian Diaspora.”

It is worthy to note that ages 14 to 22 are representing the Armenian
community of Jerusalem. For some it is the first time to visit Armenia,
others have already visited Armenia several times. Arpiag Nakashian
(16) who is competing in mini-football is visiting Armenia for the
third time.”It is a small community, and I am very happy and excited
that we aregoing to Armenia as a team by representing Jerusalem,”
said Nakashian. Kevork Tashjian (17), who has already participated
in the H.M.E.M 2002 camping in Armenia, says that it is important
to participate in the Armenian games and show that there is a young
generation in the Armenian community of Jerusalem who wants to see
Armenia and strengthen the tie with the Armenian Diaspora. For Bedig
Baghamian (16), one of the most talented players of the team and who
is going to compete in the mini-football, it is the first time to visit
Armenia. “I am very excited to visit Armenia for the first time,” said
Baghamian. “My dream is to become a professional football player and
play in the Armenian National Team. Although the opportunities here
for me as an Armenian are limited, I hope that in the future I will
be able to bring my contribution to the Armenian sport,” emphasized
Baghamian. For Micheal Katterian (22), who is going to compete in
running and table tennis, thePan-Armenian games are only a means for
an aim. “I think that thePan-Armenian games are means to meet other
Armenians in the Diaspora,strengthening the Armenian sport and the
economy,” commented Katterian.

It is worthy to note that 15 of the participants are going to take
part also in the 8th A.R.F Youth Camping which is going to take place
in Ghapan in Armenia.

The Participants in the Pan-Armenian games are: Harout Baghamian,
Roupen Nalbandian, Tamar Giragosian, Harout Hindoyan, Zareh Nalbandian,
Bedig Baghamian, Zohrab Krikorian, Armen Alemian, Harout Sahagian,
Sevan Hovannesian, Arpiag Nakashian, Levon Kassabian, Hagop
Mouradjanian, Michael Katterian, Kevork Tashjian and Sevan Geomezian.

Pictures are available upon request. Please contact
bedrossd@hotmail.com

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