Sport Digest: Don’t bet on the home team, unless it’s in weightlifting . . .

Football

Dutch test for Armenia’s Dutchman. Armenia will host Holland in a World Cup 2006 qualifier in Yerevan’s Vazgen Sargsyan “Republican” Stadium on September 3.

Currently, Armenia is last but one in their group (ahead of Andorra only), having played nine matches and gaining only four points. Armenia long ago lost their hopes for qualification or a high place in the group and in the remaining three games (against Holland, the Czech Republic and Andorra) will only struggle for the fifth spot in the group now occupied by Macedonia (with 8 points after 10 matches).

But Armenian football functionaries say these matches have a great importance for the team, which is in search of its football.

“We are facing a hard trial. We must struggle for a result. Unlike the Dutch team, we have nothing to lose. The boys feel positive about the match and can put up a successful performance,” National Teams Technical Director Ashot Manukyan said in a press conference in Yerevan earlier this week.

He informed the media that Andrey Movsisyan, playing for Moskva FC (Moscow, Russia), had refused to play for his national team, as well as the young goalkeeper from FC Pyunik Apula Bete. Instead, the coaches invited another young goalkeeper Georgi Kasparov as the team’s second goalkeeper.

Artavazd Karamyan, playing for Rapid (Romania) has an injury and his club’s medical staff and management informed the Football Federation of Armenia that Karamyan is currently receiving medical treatment and cannot be available for international duty for the next few matches. As for his twin brother Arman Karamyan, this time the national team’s Dutch head coach Henk Wisman did not include him in the squad.

After a long interval Armenia skipper Harutyun Vardanyan returns to the team. The experienced defender had been sidelined for about a year because of an injury and could not help his national team. Young Banants FC midfielder Samvel Melkonyan was invited by the coach to enhance the right wing.

But before the match international bookmakers have no doubts that Holland will beat Armenia. The Dutch team’s victory is evaluated with a coefficient of 1,08, Armenia’s victory has a coefficient of 16. The draw also has a high coefficient – 8.

The first match between these two teams in this qualifying campaign in Eindhoven ended in a convincing victory of the Dutch team – 2-0 followed by the replacement of Armenia’s French coach Bernard Casoni with Wisman under whom Armenia have lost twice – to Macedonia at home (1-2) and to Romania away (0-3).

Weightlifting

Armenian junior weightlifters, who successfully performed in the European junior championships recently held in Bulgaria have earned monetary awards from Armenian National Olympic Committee Chairman Gagik Tsarukyan this week.

Armenian male and female weightlifters won a total of 20 medals during the championships. And Armenia placed second in the team competition.

Talking to A1 Plus, Sport Committee Chairman Ishkhan Zakaryan called the performances by Armenians in Sofia “a fantastic result”.

The medal winners received up to $500 from the chairman of the Armenian National Olympic Committee.

Special awards were given to women’s team coach Ogsen Mirzoyan and junior team coach Ashot Mkhitaryan.

Mkhitaryan promised to improve the results if he was given a chance to continue to work with the team.

Wrestling

Armenia’s freestyle wrestling national team is holding a training assembly in Alushta (the Crimea, Ukraine) in preparation for the world championships due to be held in the Hungarian capital of Budapest from September 26 to October 3.

According to the head of Armenia’s sport delegation Levon Vardanyan, a tough selection will be made for places in the national team. (Armenpress)

Chess

Armenia’s grandmaster Elina Danielyan, gaining 6 points out of the possible 9, finished 6th in the Rodento memorial tournament that recently ended in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The winner of the tournament, in which 48 female chess-players took part, was Natalia Zdebskaya of Ukraine with 7.5 points. (Armenpress)