Armenian football teams training for championship to kick off in March

Review of sports January 10-13 events.

Football: FIFA published the rankings of national teams, with Armenia retaining 60th place with 515 points. The standings of Armenia’s rivals in group stage of European Championship are as follows: Russia - 13th, Slovakia - 20th, Ireland - 35th, Macedonia - 81st, Andorra - 202nd. Spain top the ranking list, followed by Netherlands and Germany (1887, 1723 and 1485 points respectively).

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian FC Mika is training for the CIS Cup matches to be played in St. Petersburg, Russia from January 13 to 23. The team will arrive in St. Petersburg on January 15 to play their first match v Sobol (Kazakhstan). The Armenian club will also rival Skonto (Latvia) and Bundekor (Uzbekistan) in Group B. In February, the club will have two training sessions in Cyprus.

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Armenian teams continue training for the championship to kick off in March. A friendly between Pyunik and Shirak ended in a draw 0:0. FC Shirak will have 3 training sessions before the championship. The club’s management hopes for better results this year.

Boxing: WIBF/WBA/WBO women’s flyweight champion Susi Kentikian (27-0, 16 KO’s) will be defending her titles on January 22 against Thailand’s Teeraporn Pannimit (13-3, 5 KO’s) in a scheduled 10 round bout in Hamburg, Germany. Kentikian, 23, has held one title or another since 2006 and has been one of women’s boxing’s biggest stars.

Chess: The first round of Armenian Women’s Chess Championship marked 3 victories and 2 draws. Lia Martirosyan, Shushanna Sargsyan and Astghik Meseljyan won their games. Armine Babayan – Varduhi Kalashyan and Siranush Adriasyan – Narine Gasparyan ended in a draw. The winner of the championship will get AMD 300 thousand and be included in the national team.

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Armenia’s Levon Aronian will participate in the traditional Corus Chess Tournament in Wijk Aan Zee due January 14-30. Starting this year the competition is renamed to Tata Steel Chess.

The format of Tata Steel Chess will be preserved. A total of 3 groups will be present (A, B, and C), with some of the top world players in the A group. Each group will preserve the 14 players round robin format, europechess.net reported. The tournament has 3 players above 2800 ELO – the current number 1 GM Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand, and the 3rd in the January FIDE rating list GM Levon Aronian.

Tata Steel Group A consists of GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR 2814), GM Viswanathan Anand (IND 2810), GM Levon Aronian (ARM 2805), GM Vladimir Kramnik (RUS 2784), GM Alexander Grischuk (RUS 2773), GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA 2751), GM Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR 2744), GM Wang Hao (CHN 2731), GM Alexey Shirov (ESP 2722), GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA 2721), GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS 2715), GM Anish Giri (NED 2686), GM Jan Smeets (NED 2662), GM Erwin l’Ami (NED 2628).

Gabriel Sargissian will compete in the B group.

Tennis: Former world No. 3 David Nalbandian beat ailing defending champion John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (3) to reach the semifinals of the Heineken Open to rival Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. Nalbandian, the No. 6 seed in Auckland and the 27th-seed for next week's Australian Open, beat the third-seeded American who appeared to be troubled by an arm injury. Isner needed medical treatment to an injury to his upper arm or shoulder but still delivered eight aces and put 78 per cent of first serves in play before the steadier Nalbandian ended his title defense.

Weighlifting: Armenia men’s weightlifting team will hold team practice session in 2011 in Tsaghkadzor in preparation for Armenian Championship. Armenian city of Gyumri will host women weightlifters’ team practice session. Armenian Championship will be a qualifier for Kazan-hosted European Championship due April 11-17.

Gohar Nalbandyan, Hasmik Babayan / PanARMENIAN News
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