51st Armenian Olympics kicks off in Tehran

51st Armenian Olympics kicks off in Tehran
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With the lighting of this torch, Iran inaugurates one of the longest-standing sports events in the world’s Armenian community, and that’s the Armenian Olympics. The 10-day event has drawn 700 athletes from across Iran and the rest of the world, who will compete in 9 fields, including soccer, basketball, track and field, chess and swimming.

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The Armenian Olympics has been held annually since 1964. It is organized by Tehran’s Armenian Sports Complex known as Ararat. The event has helped introduce many athletic talents to Iran’s national sports teams in different fields.

One such Armenian talent who came to light in this event is 19-year-old Arena, who plays for Iran’s Ararat basketball club. Her team won the second place in this year’s Pan-Armenian Games, which was hosted by Armenia in August. She says, she aspires to bigger goals.

Many Armenians are high-profile players in different clubs and national teams in Iran. For 14-year-old Rene, the Armenian Olympics is a springboard to his dreams.

There are some 70,000 Armenians living in Iran. Most of them fled the 1915 persecution, exercised by then Ottoman Empire. They have close cultural and social interactions with Iranians and regard Iran as their new home.

The Armenian games have for years shone a spotlight on many young Armenian talents who have grown to be key players in Iran’s national sports teams. Now the start whistle is blown here for dozens of fresh athletes to pursue their ambitions in their second home.

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