Armenian Olympians have yet to medal at the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but hopes remain high that the tri-colored flag will be raised into the rafters of an event venue soon.
Artur Davtyan is one of two athletes representing Armenia that turned heads early during the quadrennial event and has a strong chance to medal.
The Armenian gymnast had a score of 14.866 in the vault apparatus qualification event last Saturday. This score vaulted him into a first-place tie along with Jeahwan Shin of South Korea. Davtyan will now compete in the vault final, which is scheduled to take place on August 2nd. He is seeking to become the first gymnast to medal for Armenia.
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The other shining star that could bring home a medal is lightweight boxer and Armenia’s flag-bearer during the opening ceremony Hovhannes Bachkov, who dominated Alston Ryan of Antigua and Barbuda in the Round of 32 bout of the lightweight bracket.
Bachkov is preparing for a tilt with Azerbaijan’s Javid Chalabiyev on July 31 in the Round of 16—a showdown that will surely be emotional for Bachkov given the ongoing tense relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Arman Darchinyan is also set to fight in the Round of 16 of the middleweight bracket on July 28th against Andrej Csemez of Slovakia. Armenia’s third and final boxer Koryun Soghomonyan was knocked out in the Round of 32 bout of the flyweight bracket by Great Britain’s Galal Yafai.
Armenians representing other nations have also made headlines during this year’s Olympic Games—most notably gymnast Artur Dalaloyan, who represented the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Dalaloyan won gold as part of the ROC’s victory in the men’s team all-around event earlier this week. He generated international attention for performing a few months after getting surgery for severing his Achilles’ tendon. Despite the injury, Dalaloyan was one of two Russians to compete on all six apparatus during the event and earned praise from his teammates following the win.
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“He is a hero,” Nikita Nagornyy, the 2019 world champion, told Reuters.
“We trusted him,” teammate David Belyavsky said of Dalaloyan. “He showed in qualifications and in the final that he didn’t come here for nothing.”
Dalaloyan also qualified for the men’s individual all-around event and finished sixth.
Meanwhile in the water, Adam Krikorian’s quest to lead the United States women’s water polo team to a third straight gold is off to a decent start. The head coach has led his squad to a 2-1 record in pool play with wins against China and Japan and a loss against Hungary.
In other sports, Artur Barseghyan and 17-year-old swimmer Varsenik Manucharyan failed to advance from the qualifying heats of their respective 100-meter freestyle events. Barseghyan will compete in the 50-meter freestyle event on July 30.
Weightlifter Izabella Yaylyan showed promise during the women’s 59-kg event but failed to complete her final two clean-and-jerk attempts and finished seventh in the competition. Simon Martirosyan will compete in the men’s 109-kg event on August 3rd.
Judoka Ferdinand Karapetian was eliminated after losing his first match in the 73-kg judo bracket, and shooter Elmira Karapetyan failed to advance after the qualifying round of the 10-meter air pistol event.
The good news for Team Armenia? The wrestling events have not started yet. There are six Armenian wrestlers, including 2016 gold medalist Artur Aleksanyan who will all compete during the first week of August.
Editor’s Note, July 29, 2021: Following the publication of this roundup, we learned that boxer Arman Darchinyan will be advancing to the quarterfinals of the men’s middleweight tournament after defeating Andrej Csemez of Slovakia on Thursday. Darchinyan will face Eumir Marcial of the Philippines on Sunday.