Sun., March 24 was a good day for Armenian fans of wrestling. Artur Aleksanyan, 21, was crowned European Champion of the 96 kg. Men’s Greco-Roman event at the 2013 European Wrestling Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia. The young victor easily defeated his opponent, Bulgaria’s Vladislav Metodiev, with a 6:0 (3.0, 3.0) score in the final round.
David Safaryan, 23, also won the same title in the 66 kg. Men’s Freestyle category, beating Turkish opponent Yakup Gör 2:0. The win makes Safaryan the first Armenian to become a European Champion in freestyle wrestling in nine years. Impressed with Safaryan’s performance, the prime minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, personally congratulated the wrestler after the match.
Team Armenia has a respectable record at the European Wrestling Championships overall, ranking sixth in Men’s Freestyle and Men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling. Its medal count is five—one silver, two bronze—and now, with the victories of Aleksanyan and Safaryan, two gold.
Before achieving this milestone, Aleksanyan was perhaps best known for winning another gold at the 2012 European Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, following his bronze medal win at the London Olympics that same summer. He came in first place at the 2012 Olympic Qualification Tournament, and was the Junior World Champion in 2010. The athlete’s recent victory in Tbilisi now makes him a two-time defending European Champion.
Upon returning home to Gyumri, Mayor Samvel Balasanyan congratulated Aleksanyan on his victory and presented him with an award for upholding the city’s sports legacy.
The 2013 FILA Wrestling World Championships will be held this September in Budapest, Hungary. As of the 2012 World Wrestling Championships, Armenia holds a medal count of 20: 6 gold and 7 each in silver and bronze. Aleksanyan told Yerkir.am in an interview that he hopes to “do every possible thing to be able to win the gold medal” for himself and for his nation.
Safaryan echoed a similar goal of a short period of rest, followed by preparations for the World Championships. The athlete told News.am that his ultimate goal of winning gold at the 2014 Olympics in Rio would have to wait until he “wins the gold at the World Championships.”