“The feeling of victory that you imparted to the people of Armenia is of twofold importance” - Nikol Pashinyan Welcomes Titled Athletes
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today received the members of the Armenian weightlifting and freestyle wrestling teams, led by the national teams’ coaches. The meeting was attended by head coach of the Armenian weightlifting team Pashik Alaverdyan, coach Vigen Khachatryan, Olympic Games silver medalist, world and European champion Simon Martirosyan, Olympic Games silver medalist, world and European champion Gor Minasyan, world and European champion Hakob Mkrtchyan, European champion Andranik Karapetyan, European champions Karen Avagyan and Samvel Gasparyan, silver medalist Arsen Martirosyan, bronze medalists Varazdat Lalayan and Liana Gyurjyan, doctor of the national team David Mosinyan, head coach of the Armenian freestyle wrestling team Habetnak Kurghinyan, coach Edgar Yenokyan, as well as rating tournament winners individual tournament - World Cup winner in individual events Vazgen Tevanyan and European champion Arsen Haroutunyan. The meeting was also attended by Acting Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Vahram Dumanyan, Deputy Minister Karen Giloyan, Nikol Pashinyan’s Chief Advisor Araik Haroutunyan, other dignitaries.
Nikol Pashinyan noted in his greeting remarks:
“Dear Coach of the Armenian national weightlifting team,
Dear coach of the Armenian freestyle wrestling team,
You are welcome to the Government. I wish to stress that I invited you not so much to congratulate you as to thank you for your successful performances in the competitions, because I think that it was during this period that those victories, the feeling of victory that you imparted to the people of Armenia is of twofold importance, because confidence in our strength is very important in this post-war period, and I think you have played a significant role with your victories.
Generally speaking, sport is an important testimony to the faith of a nation in its strength; it is crucial in terms of revealing the capabilities and the talent of the nation, since I am convinced that many will be inspired by your example. People do not necessarily have to be inspired to become a weightlifter or a wrestler or any other athlete, some of them can be inspired and have more faith in their dream of becoming an engineer and so on.
I think, in general, sports, victories, achievements or failures just reflect the deep processes that are taking place in the country. As such, we place a special emphasis on sports in all of our strategies. We even adopted a strategy for Armenia’s transformation by the year 2050, in which we set a goal: Armenia should have won at least 25 Olympic gold medals, and the Armenian national football team should become a prize-winner of the European or World Championship by 2050.
It is important to set specific objectives and try to meet them from now on. Of course, we understand that sports funding, the development of sports infrastructure is of paramount importance in this respect, and we are already implementing several projects. Look, for example, what are the problems we face today? A huge part of our schools have no sports infrastructure, that is, no primitive conditions for physical training.
There is no sports infrastructure in our universities. For example, we are talking about the achievements of the Olympic movement, but it should be noted that student sport is one of the most important segments of the Olympic movement around the world. Unfortunately, student sports have encountered serious problems in Armenia, including for want of relevant infrastructure. When we see the conditions under which our world champions or Olympic champions are being trained, we usually say: is it possible for anyone to become a European champion, a world cup winner, or an Olympic prize-winner in such conditions? What does this mean? It means that if we have succeeded in such poor conditions, we will do so once we have better conditions, funding etc., and then the target of 25 Olympic medals will not cause any doubt or smile. I mean it is a task that we will all consider solvable. In any case, I want to thank you again. I want to say that with trepidation in my soul I watched the performances of our weightlifters on TV. Yesterday I did not have time to follow the freestyle wrestlers’ performances, but I watched the news reports. In fact, our weightlifters took the second place in the category of team competition by winning 2 gold and 2 silver, as well as 4 bronze medals, while our freestyle wrestlers won the rating tournament, and we have 2 Olympic trips.
In addition to congratulations and a vote of thanks, I would also like to discuss what urgent work we need to do to better prepare for the Olympic Games, since we all cherish high hopes in this regard. I know that in many cases, unfortunately, the conditions in which you train are not the best. Your success is all the more commendable, but I would also like to say that we are doing very serious work in terms of sports infrastructure. Now we have at least 2 projects for construction of sports schools named after our famous and successful athletes: the Sports School after Artur Alexanyan in Gyumri and the project of the Sports School after Simon Martirosyan is already complete.
And yes, it is necessary to launch the construction on the following condition: let him win, then we will provide the funding. A school will be built in Jrarat. I hope we will have the opportunity to build schools named after you when you win Olympic medals, and thereby we will solve our strategic tasks.”
The representatives of the Armenian weightlifting and freestyle wrestling teams stressed the importance of meetings in such a format to assess achievements, identify existing problems and jointly discuss effective solutions.
Emphasizing that both the state and society highly value the achievements of Armenian athletes in international tournaments, the Acting Premier inquired about the problems in order to give them quick responses and properly prepare for the Olympic Games due in Tokyo this year. In particular, issues related to the refurbishment of sports infrastructure, the purchase of necessary equipment through swift procurement procedures, as well as the increase in the amount of allowances for those athletes participating in the Olympic Games, the construction of a sports camp, and so on.
Nikol Pashinyan told those responsible to work out the findings and submit proposals for tackling the problems raised during the meeting.