AYF London Hosts 3rd Annual Khanasor Games

On a day that saw the German national team lift the prized possession of the FIFA World Cup courtesy of an exquisite chest and volley by Bayern Munich’s Mario Götze, AYF London Khanasor held its third-annual Khanasor Games. West London’s Perivale, at St Benedict’s secondary school’s games field, saw the Armenian community, young and old, play sports such as football and basketball – as well as Armenian favourites chess and backgammon.

Five football teams in total battled it out in a point chart system in order to reach the final. The seven players on each team put their amateur statuses to the test as they went head-to-head with aspirations to reach the final. The first game played saw Carlo Mardoian’s international team and Aram Shahbazyan’s all-Armenian outfit lock horns in the wild 26-degree heat.  The game turned out to be a 5-0 humbling by the international side with Carlo Mardoian scoring all five goals, an outstanding performance by what the Armenian community have dubbed to be the next “Chicharito”.

Later the more ‘experienced players’ (with a strict 35-and-over policy) showed how endless years of kebabs and cigarettes supplemented their playing prowess and undoubted experience, while other teams also showed courageous performances. The final ironically turned out to be a replay of the opening game between Aram Shahbazyan’s and Carlo Mardoian’s teams. Clearly Aram’s team had put their opening game behind them and scored early on in the game however Carlo’s team turned out to be too strong as they were crowned champions winning 4-1.

The basketball games were played with high intensity by the participants with some fantastic ‘three-pointers’ scored, while the board games of chess and backgammon showed some clever tactical play which rightfully makes Armenians one of the most feared opponents in the ancient game. Opponents in backgammon displayed just how important the luck of the dice can be and likewise how it simply just isn’t one’s day as the dice favours others. All in all the day turned out to be a fine outing as families enjoyed the games with a tasty kebab and cold refreshments on what was a rare sunny day in West London.

— Eric Sabonchian

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