By Harutyun Tsatryan
Photos by Armen Simonyan
Armenia’s best athletes of the year honored and awarded
Armenia’s 10 best athletes of the year were honored during an award ceremony held at Karen Demirtchyan Sport and Concert Complex.

The names of the 10 best athletes who won the first “Armenia’s 10 Best Athletes of the Year” competition, which was held by the RA Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, were announced a couple of days ago. The award ceremony and the event of paying homage to the athletes having achieved successes througout the passing year wer held on December 27.

Among the 10 best athletes were Greco-Roman wrestlers Artur Aleksanyan and Maksim Manukyan, samboists Grigor Mkhitaryan and Tigran Kirakosyan, boxer Hovhannes Bachkov, gymnast Artur Tovmasyan, weightlifter Simon Martirosyan, cyclist Edgar Stepanyan, as well as football player Henrikh Mkhitaryan and chess player Levon Aronian. Mkhitaryan and Aronian were not attending the event.

Levon Aronian is currently participating in the world rapid and lightning chess championship in El-Riad, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is at the disposal of Manchester United and is preparing for the Boxing Days, which have already kicked off. The absence of the two renowned athletes was excusable. General Secretary of the Chess Federation of Armenia Mikayel Andriasyan was atending the event in Levon Aronian’s place, and the symbolic award was transmited to Mikayel Andriasyan.

The award for Manchester United’s midfielder was granted to First Vice-President and Executive Director of the Football Federation of Armenia Armen Minasyan. Henrikh Mkhitaryan addressed the attendees with a video message at the sport and concert complex and stated the following: “I thank everyone for the cordiality. Your support has always been one of my major motives. I am glad to represent Armenia at the international level. I will continue to make everyone happy.”

The athletes received symbolic statuettes for being among the top ten. They also received Hyundai Elantras as a gift from President of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia (ARMNOC) Gagik Tsarukyan. By the executive order of President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, all athletes having stood out with their great achievements throughout the year (not only those in the top 10) and their coaches received financial awards. Overall, AMD 184 million was allocated for that purpose.

Serzh Sargsyan also granted honorary titles to several athletes and coaches for their great merit in physical culture and sports. The athletes and coaches also received financial awards and gifts. The honorary title of Merited Figure of Sport and Physical Culture of the Republic of Armenia was granted to Advisor to the President of the ARMNOC Ruben Hakobyan, Director of the Representation of the ARMNOC in Shirak Province Armen Badeyan and member of the chairmanship of the Armenian Wrestling Federation Rafik Khachatryan. The honorary title of Merited Coach of the Republic of Armenia was granted to Director of the Children’s and Youth Weightlifting School of Gyumri Israel Militonyan, senior coach of the Armenian youth weightlifting

team Melik Ghukasyan, Greco-Roman wrestling coach of Gyumri State Sports College of Olympic Reserve Melik Ghukasyan, Greco-Roman wrestling coach of the Gyumri State Sports College of Olympic Reserve Arag Kheboyan, President of the “Armenian Sports Committee for the Deaf” NGO and Greco-Roman wrestling coach Grigor Grigoryan, coach of the Chess Academy of Armenia Roman Hakobov and senior coach of the Armenian girls’ basketball team Vahagn Harutyunyan.

By the order of President Serzh Sargsyan, Olympic champion, multiple World and European Champion Artur Aleksanyan was awarded a nominal weapon. The most memorable thing for the athlete this year was the day of the final stage of the World Wrestling Championship. “I became a three-time winner of the world championship. We all know that Armenia is a country of sports, and it is an honor for me to be among Armenia’s 10 best athletes,” Aleksanyan said.

Several representatives of Armenian sports (athletes, coaches) and heads of various athletic instituions were among those attending the award and homage ceremony for the winners of the “10 Best Athletes of the Year” competition and the athletes having stood out with their great athletic achievements this year. There were also many journalists and representatives of media organizations.

P.S.: Let us remind that the award ceremony was organized by the RA Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs. This was not the first time when the best athletes of the year were selected through the coordination of the Ministry and was composed of two components (strictly transparent selection of sport journalists accredired to the competition and a public SMS voting). The format for selecting the best through combination of two components was an innovation and can be discussed and interpreted.