The games bring together more than 6,300 athletes from Armenia and Armenian communities abroad. The games, held every four years, are designed to foster closer relationships between Armenia and its far-flung diaspora.
Athletes coming from several dozen countries of the world will compete during 10 days for medals in as many as 17 sports, including soccer, mini-soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, swimming, track and field athletics, chess, badminton, cycling, shooting, arm-wrestling, golf, handball, beach volleyball and sport dancing.
Sargisian welcomed “our Diaspora sisters and brothers to Mother Armenia” as he addressed the opening ceremony held at the stadium Sunday night.
“When organizing the Pan-Armenian Games, our first goal was to ensure the broadest participation so that sports and healthy lifestyle reach every one of us. Moreover, it is very important for sports to unite people and become one of the realities consolidating our people all over the world,” he said. “I am confident that you keep these central values burning in your hearts.”
When the first Pan-Armenian Games were held in 1999 the number of athletes participating in the events was just over a thousand. The geography of the Games was also less extensive as it included only 23 countries and 63 cities, compared to 36 countries and 175 cities today. Sixteen years ago athletes competed only in 10 sports.