The Second Annual Khanasor Games

The Khanasor Expedition was not merely a military operation nor was not purely a revenge attack. The Khanasor Expedition was predominately a sign: a sign that Armenians would take no more of it.

For centuries Armenians had been crushed by the Ottoman regime, and most recently we had been obliterated in the Hamidian Massacres. We had been dubbed second-class citizens and, as was the case in Khanasor, had been deceived and slaughtered. Khanasor was a sign that aside from armed struggle, Armenians would take retaliatory action against atrocities such as that committed by the Kurdish Mazrik tribe.

In the spirit of the Khanasor Expedition Armenian athletes from across London gathered at St. Benedict’s School Spots Field on Sunday 21st July to compete in the second annual Khanasor Games. Sports included chess, backgammon, football and arm wrestling. Like the fedayis of the expedition, the athletes persevered through the heat and exhaustion to try and take their team to victory. The football tournament was among the most tiring and as the players finished their games exhausted they were delighted that refreshments were available to give them the strength and energy to continue. After a great display of determination and skill, team ‘Bayern Neverloosen’, captained by Stephan Gasparian, became the new Khanasor football champions with a 3-1 victory in their final game.

AYF Sports-405

The backgammon and chess were great spectacles also as the players had to use a different yet equally important aspect of athleticism: the mind. Just like in the expedition it was the mind and idea of Nigol Douman that allowed it to be the success that it was. The chess tournament was won by AYF’s own Hagop Krikorian while Lorig Alexandrian overcame what appeared to be more experienced opponents to win the backgammon tournament.

AYF Sports-154

The arm wrestling tournament was the greatest show, and it combined mental strength and willpower with physical strength and endurance. After tight matches between a dozen or so players, Heros Jojaghaian – despite being among the lightest of the competitors – managed to reach the final against Kevork Ohanian, where Kevork triumphed to win an AYF London t-shirt.

The Second Khanasor Games was all in all a great success, and embodied the spirit of perseverance and willpower that the expedition brought about. Commiserations to the runner-ups and congratulations to the victors: we hope they bask in their glory until next year’s Khanasor Games, where the opportunity will be given to knock them off their thrones.

— Vahe Boghosian
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