YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The ceremonial closing of the First Pan-Armenian Games took place at the Yerevan Sports & Concert Complex on September 5. President Robert Kocharian and Prime Minister Vazgen Sargssian were in attendance.
Deputy Minister of Culture–Youth Affairs and Sports Ishkhan Zakarian announced the results of the competitions after which representatives of prize-winning teams were invited to the stage to receive their awards. The athletes were awarded by the Games Steering Committee Chairman–Minister of Territorial Governance Khosrov Haroutiunian–Pan-Armenian Games World Committee Chairman Ashot Melik-Shahnazarian–Chief of the Sports Department Armen Grigorian–other officials. Special Fair Play prizes were also awarded whereafter the results of the Games Beauty Contest were announced.
Khosrov Haroutiunian spoke on behalf of the Armenian Government and the Games Steering Committee. Greeting all the Games participants and guests–he emphasized the significance of the Pan-Armenian Games in building further relations between Armenia and its Diaspora. According to Haroutiunian–the support of the Armenian Government enabled the Games Steering Committee to hold the Games at the proper level and lay the foundations for holding similar events in the future.
On behalf of the Diaspora speeches were made by member of the Pan-Armenian Games World Committee–executive of the Armenian General Benevolent Union Albert Boyajian from Los Angeles–member of the Istanbul delegation Varuzhan Arslanian–and athletes. All of the Diasporan delegates recognized the importance of the Games for the nation.
A team of young Armenian weight-lifters who performed well at the recent European weight-lifting championships in Italy by winning nine gold medals and first place in team competition–were also honored during the ceremony.
Then it was artists’ turn to appear on stage. Among the artists who performed that night were renowned tenor Gegham Grigorian–singer Susan Margarian with his daughter Sirush–song and dance groups from Yerevan–Vanadzor–Giumri–a company of artists of the National Circus–variety singers. The Games farewell song composed by Ashot Melik-Shahnazarian was performed by Emin Davidov and Karine Movsisian at the end of the concert.
The next Pan-Armenian Games will be held in 2001.
"The Pan-Armenian Games gave us a splendid opportunity to test the strength of Armenian tennis-players and get a better idea of Armenian tennis on a global scale," said Armenian Tennis Federation President Hrachya Israelian.
"Almost all the best participated in the Yerevan Games. Among the distinguished male players here are David Babyan–Tsolak Gevorgian–Haroutiun Sofian. The performance of Marie-Gayaneh Mikaelian of Switzerland was of particular interest in women’s competitions," he added.
"Athletes from Armenia and the Diaspora had been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time," said Armenian Table Tennis Federation President Robert Asatrian. "We learn something from our Diasporan friends–they learn something from us."