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Government support will be continuous and strategic. The Prime Minister meets with the prize-winning athletes of the European and World championships that took place in April, 2023


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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today hosted the athletes who won the European and World championships in weightlifting, gymnastics, wrestling and sambo in April 2023. Chief of Staff the Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan, Deputy Minister Karen Giloyan, Presidents of Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Wrestling and Sambo Federations, coaches of the mentioned sports took part in the meeting.

In his welcoming speech, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan noted:

"Dear Madam Minister,

Dear Mr. Harutyunyan,

Dear athletes,

I am very glad to see you. I would like to emphasize that in recent days the motto "11 gold in 8 days" is perhaps the most spoken motto in Armenia, and I want to thank all of you for creating that motto. Of course, it's not just about gold medals, and I want to highlight all our athletes who won medals at the European and World Championships that took place in the last month. I want to say words of appreciation regarding these results and express hope that it is somehow also the reflection of the the policy that the Government conducts in the field of sports.

I remember a meeting in this building in 2021 when we were discussing our team's preparations for the Olympic Games and we were surprised to note that, for example, there was a problem with the weights or barbells. It was about Eleiko barbells, I am now speaking only about weightlifting, and I am happy to report that now we have so many Eleiko barbells or weights in the country that if there is no exaggeration in the comments in the press, they will be enough for us for many years. Although we hope that, on the contrary, it will not be enough, because the number of weightlifters will increase so much, also due to the success of our team, that we will have to import new barbells, wrestling and sambo mats, gymnastics devices and equipment, and every time in these meetings, our athletes and coaches will say that it is not enough, more is needed, more is needed, etc. and so on, but not in the sense that there is not, but there is, there is a lot, but still more is needed. We also value these sports successes with this logic, because we are sure that your successes, dear athletes and coaches, will inspire our young people to engage in sports, physical education, set goals for themselves and achieve them.

I would like to note with pleasure that we are now also creating quite visible sports infrastructures in the country. I hope that the construction of the sports school named after Artur Aleksanyan will be completed in the scheduled time. I had the opportunity to visit Armavir Province and see the construction works of the weightlifting school named after Simon Martirosyan, they promised that the construction will be completed on time. And I want to remind you of the promise that a sports school will be built in our country named after every Olympic champion. This promise is in force, and I want us to carry out this work with such a heavy schedule that every time we are told that new resources are still needed to achieve this goal.

But in individual cases, we will also make individual decisions outside of this logic, and I want to speak about another decision in your presence, which, I hope, will be perceived positively in your environment. After the last competitions and events, we discussed and saw that at the moment it seems that such sport schools are not being built in our Yazidi settlements. I have made a decision and I hope you will support that decision, that we will build a wrestling school named after Roman and Malkhas Amoyan in the largest Yazidi settlement, Alagyaz extended community. I have already given an instruction to carry out the design works. Here I have to make a general request to all of you to use this process to create sports infrastructure in the regions. Of course, it is good that all three of our sports schools named after a pecific champion are located in the regions: Shirak, Armavir and now the third one, Aragatsotn. By the way, we have also agreed that if Artur Aleksanyan, for example, becomes the Olympic champion for the second time, we will build another sports school named after him, for example, in Kapan or Goris.

I consider it very important to implement this process not only in Yerevan, but also in the regions. I do not exclude, of course, that we will do all that in Yerevan also, but in the end, let's not forget our goals. One of the goals, of course, is to emphasize the success and feat of our athletes, the second is to create sports infrastructure, and the third is to put the development of sports in our country on a strategic rail. I want to say about the following. when we wrote in the transformation strategy of Armenia until 2050 that we set the goal that Armenia should have 25 Olympic gold medals by 2050, the first question of everyone was how we will do it, how we will win them. this is how we will win: first in Europe, the world, then the Olympics.

I want to thank you again. Of course, it is also very important that we do our best, and I remember our conversations when we said that we should do our best so that our athletes are as focused as possible on the sport itself. For this, we adopted a certain support program, made decisions, set certain formulas that the Government will accompany the athletes from their first success, that is, the greater the success, the greater the Government's support. This is not because we want to support someone and not the other, it's just that it's always difficult to make the right decision. Here too, we want our athletes, coaches to help us to find the right address of the right people, to have the phone numbers to establish contact and to be able to deliver that support to the right place, so that it is not only an individual decision, but also that decision be fair and justified, that should serve the purpose.

Seeing the success of our sambo wrestling athletes. I came to know that sambo sport is not included in the list of our nominal pensions, but after the success, I instructed that sambo sport also be included in that list. How an event leads to another event is very important. I mean, I'm sorry, what I'm saying now may sound harsh, but if that victory never happened, maybe no one would have remembered that that sport also needs support, and for objective and subjective reasons, it's not an Olympic sport, etc. But our boys, in the best sense of the word, forced us to say that we have something to do here too, we have done so much work, why didn't we do the continuation? Sport, its success, the emotion it brings, brings with it a positive chain of decisions and changes.

Once again, summing up my speech, I want to thank the coaches first, and then the athletes. In recent years, last year, this year, we organized very successful sports events: The European Championship, the World Sambo Championship is coming soon, and the European Youth Boxing Championship is going on. I don't think that, for example, members of our boxing or weightlifting team would be in any way unhappy that their country is hosting an international tournament of that level. I've also read some comments and it's a widely known thing in sports that even walls help when you are at home. Many of our athletes become champions even without the help of these walls, but now if the walls help, it will only be useful. I also want to thank for the organization of the competitions: the Prime Minister's staff, the Ministry of Education Science, Culture and Sport, our partner federations are involved. Rest assured that our support will be continuous and strategic. I say again, we will not be satisfied with only single manifestations of praise or appreciation, so to speak. Our support will be strategic. It will be in the form of financial support, capital investments, in terms of forming new sports infrastructures.

Moreover, we have constantly discussed this subtle aspect, and I emphasize again. People often say, for example, what is the difference between a wrestling school and, for example, a sports school named after Artur Aleksanyan. We look at it from the child's point of view, because when he just goes to a sports school, he just goes to a sports school, when he goes to a sports school named after an Olympic champion, he hopes that it may also be a chance to communicate with him, to get advice from him, to train under his gaze. This will definitely increase the motivation and popularity of the sport. In short, I wish you and us to have a sports school named after each of you in the Republic of Armenia. The principle is that we will have schools after Olympic champions, for sure, and there will be times when we will have some deviations - deviations in a good way - and we will make individual decisions. I think, for example, we should think about making separate decisions about encouraging women's sports, because it is important and we should promote certain sports. Although our approach is that it’s you actually who decide which sports to promote, because success brings with it the popularization of that particular sport, and that's the way we'll go. Of course, as it is said, one can talk endlessly about sports, especially the energy gained from recent successes gives additional motivation to talk. I will take a break here and would like to know what the current statistics tell us, what plans we have for the next year, and how the development of sports is going in Armenia."

The Prime Minister gave the floor to the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Zhanna Andreasyan, who congratulated all the athletes on their victories and referred to the current sports indicators, noting that the numbers are very impressive. "Mr. Prime Minister, at the moment we have 110 medals: 28 gold, 25 silver, 57 bronze. I am talking only about the medals we have won from the European and World Championships. Let me remind that last year we had 307 medals for the whole year, which was a record number and 30 percent higher than our best result that had been recorded in 2019. We are currently in the beginning of the 5th month and we still have quite a lot tournaments to participate throughout the year. For example, next week the Senior World Boxing Championships will take place, and we haven't counted today's 3 medals in this 110 yet. Mr. Prime Minister, you mentioned the European Youth Boxing Championship, which is currently underway in Yerevan. Today is the finals, and we have 3 contestants that have reached to the finals, and there is at least one gold or silver medal already that has not been counted. I think we have started the year very well and we will have many more opportunities to increase these figures before the end of the year. I consider it very important to highlight another fact. we notice that both adults and young people are achieving results in sports, which is very important and shows that we have continuity. For example, in terms of our gymnasts, the winners of the youth championship, we actually see that the good example you mentioned is already working, we have good results for both adults and youth, a school is being formed, in fact, and those best traditions are already being strengthened”, said Zhanna Andreasyan.

Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Karen Giloyan, in her turn, noted. "Mr. Prime Minister, I join in your thanks and bow my head to these athletes and coaches, because they were able to prove that, yes, we can have 11 champions in 8 days. And, you know what's most important, yes, home walls help, even the Soviet Union and Bulgaria were unable to have 10 out of 10 winners in their prime. All members of our team became award winners, and it is very important for them to feel that the state cares, supports and does everything. This is really the result of proper work, continuous support. When last year we provided additional support to the federations, we helped them to hold an additional training camp and participate in additional competitions. Thank you for paying such attention, and we promise that this will be continuous." On behalf of the organizing committee of the European Senior Weightlifting Championship-2023, Karen Giloyan presented Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan with a symbolic gift, a statuette of an Armenian mouflon, the symbol of the championship.

The participants of the meeting exchanged ideas on continuous encouragement of the success of our athletes representing the Republic of Armenia in international tournaments, maintenance of the high pace, popularization of sports, increasing the involvement of women in various sports, construction of sports infrastructures, certification process of coaches, accountability of federations' activities and a number of other issues.

The Head of the Government also referred to the performances of our women's weightlifting team and assessed them as very impressive. Nikol Pashinyan emphasized the link between generations and sports traditions, noting that both old and new champions shine on the stage. "This is very important and speaks not only about today, but also about tomorrow's perspective. we see tactical and strategic depth, so to speak. We see both exceptionally talented people now, and we see the future. We should do everything to make that future as long and effective as possible. I thank you again and I look forward to the day when the Government will make an appropriate decision in this hall regarding the construction of a sports school named after each of you," Prime Minister Pashinyan concluded.

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