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Bayandour: Village of Budding Champions

Ani Hovhannisyan

The sound of children playing football on the barren field breaks the silence enveloping the village of Bayandour in Armenia’s Shirak Province.

Upon seeing visitors from the city, the kids immediately proposed that we watch from the sidelines or join the game.

When asked if they play other games beside football, Tigran and Artoush hastened to tell us about their sports victories. The two are brothers and go to Gyumri for wrestling competitions. They’ve had wins and losses and now dream of participating in national competitions.

There was no need to talk to their parents about life in the village. The boys spoke eloquently about the problems they face and the village’s socio-economic situation. To register success in sports, the boys not only need a high level of determination but also financial resources.

“My father has gone to Russia. He’s been there for two years and should send us money. When my brother goes to the army, Artosh and I will be able to go to sports classes. Just our uniforms and the cost of going to and from Gyumri is a lot of money,” says Tigran who hopes to become a designer after graduating school in order to assist the family.

Despite all the problems, Artoush is determined to continue along the sports path. “If I become champion of the national competition, I will try my luck in international championships and then become a trainer. I am doing everything I can and train hard to achieve this,” says a upbeat Artoush.

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Photos: Narek Aleksanyan

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