Sunday, 20 April 2008

Armenian sport life in the pre-WWI Ottoman Empire

Fascinating online exhibition launched by The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.

"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.

The European influence and the acknowledgment with the traditions and principles of the European education triggered unprecedented activity in the sport life and sportive activity.

Enough to say that dozens of Armenian sport clubs and boy scout organizations appeared among the Armenian communities from Istanbul to Van, from Trabzon to Adana.

The first time in the history of Turkish Olympic games two Armenian sportsmen represented the Ottoman Turkey in the fifth international Olympic games in Stockholm in 1912 (those were Vahan Phapazyan and Mkrtich Mkryan). Many Armenian teams and individuals permanently scored victories and records in the multinational and intercommoned competitions and championships.

*Mkrtich Mkryan, participant of the Fifth Olympic games in Stockholm, Robert College campus, “Marmnamarz”, July 5, 1912

*Vahram Papazyan, Fifth Olympic games in Stockholm, “Marmnamarz”, 1912

It’s interesting enough that from 1911 to 1914 four “Armenian Olympic games” were organized with the participation of all Armenian sport clubs. Winners of the competitions were awarded with silver medals.

*Silver medal which was granted to the winners of the Second Armenian Olympic games in 1912

*Vagharshak Varjapetyan, winner of the Armenian Olympic games and international competitions in Constantinople, bicyclist, “Marmnamarz”, 1911

The idea of creation of separate Armenian football league was not realized because of the WWI and subsequent start of genocide policy against the Ottoman Armenians, during which many Armenian sportsman became victims of the first genocide of the 20th century."

*The football team and athletic club “Atlas” of Nikomedia, “Marmnamarz”, 1913

*The Armenian Youth “Tsitsernak” football team, Istanbul, 1910s

For more photos - visit the online exhibition

1 comment:

Eren said...

"The Ottoman state persecuted the Armenians so badly that they even allowed them to represent the Ottoman empire in the olympics!"
Right. That's beautiful logic there.