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YEREVAN, DECEMBER 23, ARMENPRESS: Forty-six Armenian sport journalists, asked to name the best Armenian sportsman (sportswoman) of 2003, said it is Elina Danielian, who together with two other women chess players, snatched Europe’s team chess champion title earlier this year.

Vice world champion in weight-lifting Gevork Davtian was named the second best Armenian athlete in the outgoing year and the third is again a chess player Lilit Mkrtchian.

The chairman of sport committee Ishkhan Zakarian, who is also the president of Armenian National Olympic Committee, expressed hope today that 878 million Drams, earmarked by 2004 budget for sports development, by 50 million more than for 2003, will help the committee improve training conditions for Armenian athletes.

So far five Armenian weightlifters have qualified for participation in 2004 Olympic Games in Athens together with three wrestlers. Zakarian said any Armenian athlete that wins Olympic gold medal will be awarded a $40,000 bonus from the government, second and third places are estimated at $30,000 and $20,000 respectively.

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