Pan Armenian Games is a unique opportunity and a big Armenia sports event to bring all Armenians from around the world together, showing how strong and united Armenians are.
The Republic of Armenia has a population of about 3 million. But there are more than 7 million Armenians living abroad, who form the so called “Armenian Diaspora”.
You will probably think it would be impossible to unite all Armenians from different parts of the world. But, Armenians are witty nation and they know how to foster closer relationships between Armenia and its Diaspora.
In Armenia, sports are really important, that’s why Pan Armenian Games give a perfect opportunity to bring all Armenians of the world together. Keep reading to learn when, where and how this big event called “Pan Armenian Games” is held.
Pan Armenian Games: How It All Started?
“Pan Armenian Games” are a multi-sport event, held between competitors from Armenia, Nagorno- Karabakh and Armenian Diaspora. The games consist of various competitions in individual and team sports among the Armenian athletes.
The sports played during the games include:
- Table tennis
- Sports dances
- Shooting, etc.
Despite today’s huge success, the organizers of Pan Armenian Games went through hard times to make the Games reality.
It was in 1987-1988 when Armenians were hopeful to invite representatives of public and sports organizations from Armenian Diaspora to participate in sport events.
The permission was finally given by the Soviet government, the venue and the date was announced. Shortly afterwards the games was unfortunately postponed because of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
However, in 1995, when the prevailing condition in the country was relatively peaceful, Ashot Melik-Shahnazaryan, an Armenian diplomat, for the first time publicly announced his intentions to create the initiative Pan-Armenians Games.
The mission of it was to show unity between Armenia, newly independent Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and the Armenian Diaspora.
His idea was highly supported by the Armenian Diaspora.
In 1997, the World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games was created. It was created with the help of representatives of state and public organizations of Armenia and Armenian Diaspora. Ashot Melik-Shahnazaryan was elected as the first president of the newly-established committee.
Afterwards, the first Pan Armenian Games came to reality taking place from August 28, 1999 to September 5, 1999.
We will come back to the first “Pan Armenian Games” a bit later, but first let’s get to know terms of the Armenian Games.
Pan Armenian Games: Participating Countries and Nations
Going into more details, you will find out that Pan Armenian Games have much in common with the Olympic Games.
The program of both of these tournaments include opening and closing ceremonies, a torch is lit and travelled across different countries or cities, and the sport categories included in the tournament are almost the same.
Olympic Games bring together thousands of sportsmen from different countries. The same can be said about Pan Armenian Games. But there is a “slight” difference.
The Games are only open to Armenian passport-holders (irrespective of national origin) and citizens of other countries who have Armenian descent.
A citizen of any country can participate in the Games, if he/she takes the surname of Armenian husband/wife.
So, if you are neither an Armenian, nor an Armenian passport-holder, start searching for an Armenian spouse. In your case, it’s the only way to take part in this nationwide festival.
Today, the geography of participants is very wide, though it was not so a few years ago.
It is noteworthy that many of participants represent the 4th or 5th generation born in the Diaspora. There are people among them who visit their homeland for the first time, who even find it hard to speak Armenian.
However, it is the spirit of Armenian identity that creates strong connection between all participants.
How Pan-Armenian Games are Held?
Just like the Olympic Games “Pan Armenian Games” are held once in every four years.
The competitions usually take place in Yerevan, Gyumri, Abovyan, Vanadzor and Stepanakert bringing together about 4 thousand participants from more than 30 countries.
The geography of participants is extending from Australia to Canada, from South America to the Middle East, proving that the Armenian world is united and strong with the will of victory.
The expenses of participants are covered by the “World Committee of Pan-Armenian Games”. Even during 2015 Armenian Games no tickets were sold, only invitations were distributed due to the unprecedented number of guests who have arrived in Armenia.
You see, everything is done for both participants and guests to fully enjoy this big celebration in their homeland!
The start of the games is announced after the most exciting moment, when the torch of the Games is brought to the stadium during the opening ceremony.
Afterwards, the participants start to compete with each other. However, all of them understand that there are no losers in these Games. Gained victories are the victories of the whole Armenian nation.
The awarding ceremony of prize-holders takes place immediately after competitions. The prize-holders are rewarded by corresponding medals, diplomas and Pan-Armenian Games Cups.
The closing ceremony is usually attended by high-ranking officials, Mayor of Yerevan, the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of RA. But the most important presence is the presence of the avid and devoted fans of “Pan Armenian Games” who come to congratulate the athletes, coaches and organizers.
The 1st, the last & Upcoming Games
So far six Pan Armenian Games have been held. However, it was the first Armenian Games that were decisive and required a lot of efforts and responsibility to make it reality. Luckily, everything went well.
The First Pan Armenian Games
The program of the first Games consisted of 7 sports categories including football, basketball, volleyball, athletics, tennis, table tennis and chess.
The torch of the Games was lit in Garni temple and the legendary Olympic champion Albert Azaryan brought it into the stadium during the opening Ceremony of the Games.
Now, we can proudly say that the success of the first Games paved the way for the future tournaments.
The 6th Pan Armenian Games
The sixth “Pan Armenian Games” were unprecedented by the number and geography of participants and the number of sports events.
The Games were held on 2-13 August in Yerevan, Stepanakert, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Abovyan and Artashat as part of the events dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
The opening ceremony which took place at “Hrazdan Stadium” was aired live and appeared on big outdoor screens in Yerevan.
The 10-day tournament that included 17 sport categories, officially came to an end with the award ceremony. It took place at the Presidential Palace and the closing ceremony in Yerevan on August 13, 2015.
The 7th and Upcoming Pan Armenian Games
After the 6th “Pan Armenian Games”, a historic decision was made to hold the next “Pan Armenian Games” in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh). The proposal was approved unanimously, since it best reflects the mission of the games—to show unity between Armenia, Artsakh, and the Armenian Diaspora.
Now, when you know a lot about this amazing event don’t miss the exceptional opportunity to take part in the 7th historic “Pan Armenian Games” which will take place in Nagorno-Karabakh.
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