From June 28th the Armenia national basketball team will launch at the European Championship for Small Countries. From the other side the Armenia U20 team is preparing for the European Championship which will kick off in July. These days the teams are having trainings and spending matches in Yerevan. In a conversation with the ANOC press service, the vice president of the Armenian Basketball Federation, Ara Poghosyan, spoke about the team, its activities and expectations.
-Mr. Poghosyan, the Armenia national basketball team has a new coach, Tigran Gyokchyan. Why the federation’s choice fell on him?
-Tigran Gyokchyan was born and bred in Yerevan. He made it as a basketball player here then he moved to Lebanon where he became a front runner and then – a coach. He has trained teams of different ages, has worked in the Lebanon national team and now he leads one of the most famous Lebanese clubs. Our goal is to include as many Armenian players as it is possible since it is the only way to revive the Armenian basketball.
-What tasks does the Armenia national team have to solve?
-Now the Armenian national basketball team is aimed at becoming the winner of the European Championship for Small Countries and this will be the beginning of the Armenian basketball renaissance.
-How did you make the choice of the players?
-It was very difficult. Armenian basketball players are spread all over the world. At first we were finding out whether a given player was Armenian and then connecting with his parents, coaches and agents. Unfortunately, we couldn’t include everyone in the national team, for some reasons. For example, there are Armenian players in the team of Islamic Republic of Iran who, unluckily, haven’t joined the team yet, but we are working in this direction. Our team must get stronger day by day.
-The team could invite only one foreign player and Bryant Dunston was chosen, why?
-First of all, Dunston is a very good player. He was declared the best European defender two times in a row. Besides, the human qualities are also important for us. Dunston is rather popular but he doesn’t suffer from megalomania, he is very kind, he likes Armenia and Armenians.
- What do you expect from the European Championship for Small Countries?
-I will be pleased only with the gold medal. There will possibly be people who will be satisfied with any kind of medal but not me. I have long dreamed of such a team and I desire only a victory.
-From July 15 the Armenia youth team will launch at the European Championship. What expectations do you have of it?
-It’s difficult to day, our youth team has strong players but I don’t want to make predictions. If they enter the top 5 I’ll consider it a good result.
-And what about the U18 girls’ team?
-The girls are going to compete in the Division C which is very unpredictable. I am hopeful that they will place first.
-Mr. Poghosyan, the players who have joined the team are mainly from abroad. What works must be done to popularize the sport within the country?
-We all are concerned about it. Everything is connected with finances. We hope to find sponsors. We can’t ask or demand money from the state because our country is at war. We hope to develop world-famous streetball in the country. The number of basketball players must increase gradually.
ANOC press service
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