Armenian Olympic Body in Turmoil After Sidney Fiasco

YEREVAN(REF/RL)–The Armenian National Olympic Committee–widely criticized for the poor performance of Armenian athletes at the Sidney games–has been left in limbo by the continuing turmoil in its leadership.

Officials in the ANOC and the government confirmed reports Monday that the committee president–Benur Pashayan–tendered his resignation amid allegations of mismanagement. Pashayan has been accused by his opponents of mishandling and even embezzling funds allocated by Australia’s Armenian community for the support of the Armenian national team.

The ANOC is due to issue a detailed financial report about its recent activities by December 1. But with Pashayan currently in Moscow for unknown reasons–it is not clear if the report will be submitted in time for the government deadline.

The Armenian deputy minister of culture–sports and youth affairs–Ishkhan Zakarian–refused to comment. A source close to the ANOC told RFE/RL that Pashayan has cited the Sidney fiasco as the main reason for his resignation. Armenia won only two bronze medals at the Sidney Olympics — by far the most modest performance in its the 50-year participation in the games. Another Armenian athlete–weightlifter Ashot Danielian–was stripped of his bronze medal after failing a drug test. (Courtesy of RFE/RL)

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