Weightlifting: High hopes for Olympics despite heavy season for Armenia

Weightlifting: High hopes for Olympics despite heavy season for Armenia

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Despite the lack of success by Team Armenia at the 2011 World Weightlifting Championship, the sport’s national federation still considers the season as fairly successful, saying that a total of 55 medals (17 gold, 13 silver and 25 bronze medals) have been won by Armenian weightlifters competing at different level in international tournaments.

More importantly for the pre-Olympic year, the Federation says six entries to the Summer Games in London in 2012, including two for female weightlifters, have been secured.

Armenian Weightlifting Federation President Samvel Khachatryan says that the top weightlifters of the national team will not participate in major competitions before engaging in the London Olympics (scheduled to be held from July 27 to August 12, 2012).

“They will also miss the European Championships in Turkey in April, because they will not have enough time to recover and prepare for the London Games afterwards,” says the official, adding that those who lift more kilograms than others will eventually go to the Olympic Games.

The Federation head admits the results shown by Armenian weightlifters at the World Championships in Paris, France, in November, where a “little” bronze by one of the Armenian athletes was all Team Armenia could achieve, were far below par considering the team’s potential. Still, he notes with satisfaction the success of youth weightlifters at the World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru, where Armenia had its first-ever world champion among juniors – heavyweight Gor Minasyan. Also, during the summer World Student Games in Shenzhen, China, Aghasi Aghasyan from Armenia took the 2011 Universiade winner title.

The Armenian Weightlifting Federation’s head also says that the recovery of two Armenian female weightlifters – Hripsime Khurshudyan, who dislocated her arm at the Paris World Championships, and Meline Duluzyan, who had a knee injury – was proceeding normally. Both athletes had undergone surgeries at the European Trauma Center in Moscow, Russia, and are expected to return to Yerevan and restart their trainings after January 20.

The weightlifting official also says that the decision by the anti-doping agency to ban two leading Armenian weightlifters, Gevorg Poghosyan and Elen Grigoryan, from sport until 2015 for allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs during competitions in 2011 is not final yet as the results of so-called B samples have not been presented yet. While not disqualified, the athletes, however, are still not eligible to compete while the inquiry is in progress.

2009 world champion Nazik Avdalyan, who suffered serious injuries in a car crash earlier this year, will not be able to return to the sport in 2012.

“After the accident doctors forbade her to approach the weights for at least a couple of years,” says Khachatryan.

The Federation head says injuries in weightlifting are very common, still for Armenia every such injury is an impact since only about a thousand local athletes engage in this sport professionally. “There are very few weightlifters who can become proper replacements should leaders suffer injuries. That’s why these injuries have such a tangible impact on the team,” stresses Khachatryan.