Addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), member of the Armenain delegation Naira Karapetyan raised the issue of Mihran Harutyunyan’s deprivation of a gold medal at the Olympic Games. The full text of the speech is provided below:
“The report relates to an issue, which at first sight seems not so far important, but it is, and it unites societies, nations, and people. Indeed, Sport is universally seen as the most popular activity in the world. And it supposed to be free and far from politics, from injustice, from inequality, from any form of unbalancing. Sport supposed to be clear and strict. For every sportsman the greatest and most desirable is the winning of the highest competition – The World Olympic Games.
This year was the year that we have had Rio Games, and many of our member states got honour of having Olympic Champions. My country has gold medal as well, so ones more I want to congratulate from here the Olympic Champion of Greco-Roman Wrestling Armenian Arthur Alexanyan.
But unfortunately, even in sports we see a number of injustice cases; we see referees that sometimes judge not by conscience and rules but quite opposite, trying to serve some good turn to some powerful persons. During this Rio Games another Armenian Sportsman, Greco-Roman Wrestler Mihran Harutyunyan was deprived of gold and got silver medal only because of injustice and misjudging. It’s not mandatory to be an expert to see that it is true; all the people who were present were surprised; they were just whistling to the so-called winner and applauding only to the Armenian guy, to Mihran. And this vivid example is not the single one. In boxing we met the same – Narek Abgaryan and Hovhannes Bachkov are also victims of misjudgments.
Dear Colleagues, I call on the Parliamentary Assembly not to turn a blind eye and take proper steps and call on the various international sports federations, the Greco-Roman Federation and the United World Wrestling to pursue this kind of issues. Every single injustice in sports overshadows not only Olympics, but the aim and nature of sports, the faith and willingness to go ahead.
After all, as the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, once said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” Let me add to this quotation, that if there is a loss of hope, examples of injustice, unfair judgment, one cannot have enough strength of will to take part and go ahead with deep faith in sports.
So, Dear Colleagues, let’s return the faith and strengthen it together.”