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HISTORY OF PAN-ARMENIAN GAMES

The idea of holding Pan-Armenian sport games derived since 1987-1988, when certain reforms in the USSR inspired the hope that representatives of various Armenian NGOs, sports organizations and parties in the Diaspora might be invited to Armenia.

It is true, they organized their own intra-party sports, and the Armenian General Benevolent Union – the Navasardian games, however, it was obvious, that the idea of holding games with all parties in Yerevan would greatly contribute to the strengthening of the Homeland-Diaspora ties and familiarizing Diaspora youth with the Homeland. The initiative group was spearheaded by Michael Ispiryan, the first deputy chairman of the State Committee on Physical Culture and Sport of Armenian SSR, and Harutyun Yavryan, the Head of Department. During those years the country was really living period of political reforms, however, the final decision maker was still the party apparatus, and in 1988, in order to organize a similar event in Armenia and invite guests from abroad, the consent of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia was required. In August 1988, the executives of the Sport Committee addressed a corresponding letter to the Communist Party Central Committee.  In order not to make it too obvious that the main purpose of this event is the participation of the Armenian athletes from Diaspora, it was decided to mitigate the wording in the letter and specifically mention: “With the purpose of popularizing physical culture and sport among the population of the Republic, propagating national sports, strengthening friendly, sportive ties between the brotherly republics, Armenian SSR sports committee plans to launch ten days of physical culture and sports in the Republic, in October, 1988. Hungarian Gyor-Sopron county teams are also expected to take part in the event”. Unfortunately, after the horrific earthquake in Armenia on December 7, 1988,  the works across this direction were temporarily suspended. But already in February,1989, in response to the Karabakh movement’s reaction, a new letter was sent to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia by the signature of the first deputy chairman of the State Sport Committee Michael Ispiryan. In the letter was suggested to conduct “Navasardian” games from September 20-30, 1989, with the participation of Armenian sports organizations from Diaspora, also by inviting the teams from the Gyor-Sopron county of Hungary. Having received the agreement of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, the State Committee on Physical Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia and the Committee on Cultural Relations with the Diaspora initiated the organization of a consultation dedicated to the first Pan-Armenian Navasardian Games. Given the seriousness and the scope of the issue, and also the current economic situation of the country, the preparatory and organizational work was delayed until 1990. On October 8-13, 1990, Yerevan hosted a meeting of the Committee on Cultural Relations with the Diaspora in Yerevan. The meeting was attended by the First Deputy Chairman of State Committee of Physical Culture and Sport of RA Michael Ispiryan, Head of Department Harutyun Yavryan, Head of Division Levon Meseryan, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Relations with the Diaspora S. Baghdasaryan, Deputy R. Kozmoyan, Head of Department Gegham Gharibjanyan, Representatives of the Armenian General Benevolent Union M. Tutunjyan H. Mardiryan (Lebanon). H.Manukyan (Cyprus), Director of “Armenia – 2000” Union A. Hayrapetyan (France) and the representative of the ARF Press and Information Office A. Shahbazyan. It was decided to hold the first Pan-Armenian Navasardian Games in July 15-30, 1992, in Yerevan, with football, basketball (boys, girls), table tennis, chess sports. Based on the results of the consultation, on October 31, 1990 (N 01/1584)  the State Committee of Physical Education and Sport applied to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Armenia with the request to hold the games. Soon the Government’s consent was signed by the Deputy of the Council of Ministers of RA, Ktrich Sardaryan (November 20, 1990, N 055-12699). In 1991, the Karabakh warfare has entered an oppressive phase. This was followed by the energy crisis and blockade. The games were temporarily postponed. Only in 1994 an opportunity has been given to address this issue again. An initiative group was formed, in which were involved Ashot-Melik Shahnazaryan, Head of the Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RA, Harutyun Yavryan, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia, Mikayel Ispiryan, Deputy Chairman of the Sport Committee. During the World Games days organized by the Armenian General Benevolent Union in Paris in 1995,  Albert Boyachyan, Hrant Bardakchyan and Ashot-Melik Shahnazaryan decided and publicly announced about holding All-Armenian sports games. At the conference of Armenian sports organizations held on April 29-30, 1997, an agreement was reached to establish a World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games. The Committee involved a number of representatives of state, non-governmental organizations, all parties and unions from the Diaspora: Hrant Bardakchyan from Toronto, Albert Boyachyan from Los Angeles, Hrach Manukyan from Nicosia, Hrach Siseryan from Paris, Hrach Der-Sarkisyan from Montreal, Sarkis Sarkisyan from Beirut, Jacques Hayrabedian from Paris and many others. The main sponsors of the games became Albert Boyachyan from Los Angeles, Vart Alexanyan from Cairo, Hakob Kirmizyan from Bucharest, Jean Maxian from Hong Kong. Ashot Melik-Shahnazaryan was elected the Chairman of the World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games.

THE FIRST STAFF OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE WORLD COMMITTEE OF PAN-ARMENIAN GAMES

1998

REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

NAGORNO KARABAKH REPUBLIC (NKR)

Ashot-Melik ShahnazaryanPresident
Ishkhan ZakaryanYerevan, RA
Alexan AvetisyanYerevan, RA
Garik BalayanStepanakert, NKR
Arthur Gevorgyan

Harutyun Yavryan

Yerevan, RA

Yerevan, RA

Vaghinak SarkissyanYerevan, RA

ARMENIAN GENERAL BENEVOLENT UNION (AGBU)

Hrant BardakchyanToronto, Canada
Albert BoyajianLos Angeles, USA
Vardges KnajyanBrussels, Belgium
Hrach ManukyanNicosia, Cyprus

ARMENIAN GENERAL ATHLETIC UNION

Hrach SiseryanFrance, Paris
Vardges EskibashyanBeirut, Lebanon
Manvel MarselyanLos Angeles, USA
Hrach Ter-SarkissyanMontreal, Canada

ARMENIAN SPORTS UNION

Tigran SarafyanBeirut, Lebanon
Jack HayrapetyanParis, France
Vardan GochapanyanLos Angeles, USA
Sargis SarkissyanBeirut, Lebanon

CIS – EASTERN EUROPE

Igor Ter-HovhannisyanMoscow, Russia
Hakob KirmizyanBucharest, Romania
Hakob Maxyan

Vanik Petrosyan

Hong Kong, China

Tehran, Iran

Thanks to the enormous work done in 1987-1999, the long-held dream came true: The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia (N 463 of July 30, 1998, N 255 of April 30, 1999, N 496 of August 9, 1999) made a decision on The first Pan-Armenian Games to be held in Yerevan from August 28 to September 5, 1999. Prime Minister of Ra Vazgen Sargsyan convened a working consultation, during which each institution received a clear assignment to solve the organizational issues of the first Pan-Armenian Games. The Minister of Territorial Administration of the Republic of Armenia, Chairman of the Games Organizing Committee Khosrov Harutyunyan (1999) and the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of RA Ishkhan Zakaryan (1997-2007) made a significant contributions to the organization and conducting of the first Pan-Armenian Games. All the works related to the organization and conduct of the first games were held under the high patronage of the second President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharyan. For the contribution to the organization of the Games, the International Olympic Committee provided some financial support to the National Olympic Committee of Armenia within the framework of the “Sport for All” program, in 1999, and IOC President, Marquis Juan Antonio Samaranch sent a greeting letter to the second President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharyan.