THE ROLE OF ARMENIAN SPORT IN OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Panorama.am
15:27 02/09/2008

In the summer of 1912 two Armenian sportsmen, Vahram Papazyan and
Mkrtich Mkryan, took part in the 5th International Olympic Games
in Stockholm, representing the empire to the Olympics for the first
time. In 1915 to 1920 innumerable Armenian sportsmen became victim
of the Genocide, most Armenian sports clubs closed.

This reveals new details of Armenian history and includes about 70
photos, documents, periodicals which tell the history of the Armenian
sport clubs and football teams in the Ottoman Empire until 1915. It
turned out that in times of Abdul Hamid it was forbidden to appear
in the public half-naked; that is why the sportsmen could be arrested
even during a contest. However, the women's sport was also developed
in that period.

The number of the Armenian sport clubs in the Ottoman Empire was
about 100. In 1911 to 1914 the Armenian Olympic Games were held in
Constantinople. From 1911 to 1914 the Marmnamarz, a sports newspaper
editor Shavarsh Krisyan, was published which was the first sports
periodical in the empire.

Today the exposition headlined "Armenian Sports in the Ottoman Empire"
opens at the Museum Institute of the Armenian Genocide which will
last till September 15.

"The Armenian sport clubs and sportsmen had a significant contribution
to the history of sports in the Ottoman Empire," the director of
Museum Institute of the Armenian Genocide Hayk Demoyan said at the
opening ceremony.

"Armenian Olympic Games were first held in Istanbul and Turkish
sportsmen always lost to Armenians. May be this was one of the reasons
why Turkish people hated Armenians from those times," the historian,
deputy director of the Museum Institute Suren Maukyan says.

Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire before total uprooting as
a consequence of premeditated and state-orchestrated genocide plan
of the elimination of the Armenian nation on the territory of the
Ottoman Turkey circa 1915 was among well modernized elements of the
empire which although the segregationist and discriminative nature
of the ottomans played significant role in the social, economical
and cultural life of the empire.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress