Persistence Gets Young Armenian Athletes to US for International Children’s Games

By Anita Papazian Kazarian CLEVELAND–Eleven Armenian athletes and their coaches arrived in Cleveland–Ohio late Monday night to compete in the 2004 International Children’s Games (ICG).

Local NBC and ABC affiliates were on hand at Hopkins Airport as the Northeast Ohio Armenian-American Community and the President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission–David Gilbert–warmly greeted the very special team as they compete in the US for the first time.

When Cleveland’s Armenian community realized last December Armenia would not be represented in the ICG–primarily because of the high cost of transportation–it took action to raise funds to enable their participation. Many individual Armenia’s–Armenian organizations–and friends of Armenia made the world a little smaller–and helped to make big dreams come true for the young athletes who range in age from 12-15.

On Tuesday–however–members were simply trying to overcome jet-lag and get in some practice time for the games that run July 30-August 2. Team members will compete in tennis–swimming–track and field–and gymnastics.

An Armenian team has also formed in Glendale–CA–made up of children who will compete in track and field and baseball according to Suzelle Avitsian of Solon–OH who has been working with Glendale head coach Koko Panossian for the past several months to ensure their participation. For more information–email apk@noahs-landing.com.

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