Khanasor Games Stirs Sporting Rivalry

“115 years ago this month, our ancestors displayed great courage to defend our people against oppression. We owe a great deal to their strength and bravery; strength and bravery which we hope will be displayed today in our first AYF Khanasor Games. Grit, steel, mental and physical stamina are among some of the characteristics needed today, just as they were all those years ago. We as the Armenian Youth Federation, seek to provide a new social platform, for us as Armenians, young and old, to play together in the spirit of friendly competition. To enter the court as rivals and to leave as friend; to give all you can in the arena of sport, and to strive for excellence in physical contest are some of the aims of today.”

This brief speech set the scene for the Khanasor Games – the first sporting event by AYF London since their re-establishment in 2008. Brief and direct was all it should’ve been as everybody was itching to jump into their games. Athletes and spectators alike had gathered from across the community bringing with them a real buzz about the day. You could almost feel that it had been years since London had seen a sporting event such as this.

The hall, Osterley Sports Centre, was divided into a full court for the 5-aside football and a half-court for the 3-aside basketball. The remaining half-court contained the two ping-pong tables, as well as the food and drink stalls and a seating area.

Six teams had registered for football, six for basketball, and eight individuals for ping pong. A few brave youngsters signed up for multiple events, which highlights our aptitude across the sporting spectrum. Games were played concurrently so the hall never saw a dull moment. Those not playing lined the edges of the courts and watched, cheering on their friends whilst in the same play throwing light rival taunts.

Games played and tournaments over, a small award ceremony took place. The top three in each sport were announced and small prizes were given as a token of their success. The winners are listed below.

Football Team Ani
Armen Seridarian
Alex Bustamante
Alex Ghazarian
Alex Katsouris
David Ajemian
Basketball Team Tro
Ari Boghosian
Hagop Krikorian
Vahe Boghosian
Ping Pong Vahe Altounian

In the eyes of this attendee at least there was a real sense of unity through sports. The very-experienced veterans played the rookie barely-teens; and despite all the grit, steel and rivalry there was an undeniable thirst for more. The atmosphere created by the presence of so many Armenian athletes together under one roof, competing for the top spot, was highly stimulating – the likes of which we don’t see here often enough. Commiserations to the losers, congratulations to the victors; but all round a tremendously enjoyable day for everyone involved.

The first Khanasor Games forged rivalries, generated competition and the spirit of sportsmanship; as well as re-established this socio-sporting platform in the midst of the Olympics. With the level of interest seen in this event one would hope it would become a permanent fixture in this city’s Armenian calendar. Don’t despair if you’re aching for a rematch or if you weren’t quite on form that day: in a year’s time you may have the opportunity to face your rivals once again.

— Heros Jojaghaian

See all the pictures here.

  • Facebook

  • Our Monthly Newsletter

    Yeritasard Newsletter

  • Mailing List

  • Donate

  • —————————————————————-

    Get involved - click here