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Armenian Olympic team: Izabella Yaylyan


Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax


Date of birth: 04.01.1995, Yerevan

Sport: Weightlifting (59kg weight category)

Education: State Institute of Physical Culture, Armenia

Family: Single

Personal coach: Hrant Tonoyan

Choice of sport: “I started training at the age of 12. My father did weightlifting and my brother goes to weightlifting trainings. My dad suggested I train too, and I did.”

Photo: Mediamax


Loving weightlifting: “I was an active kid. When I went to the training hall for the first time, I fell in love with weightlifting. It is impossible to do any job without love. I have always liked lifting heavy things, doing things that others couldn’t.”

Debut: “My first Youth European Championship was in 2009. I won the silver medal and realized weightlifting wasn’t a hobby anymore but a job I loved. So, I had to take it more seriously. The first medal is always special. I was over the moon!”

Photo: Mediamax


The medal that changed everything: “When I was younger, my mother didn’t want me to go into weightlifting. We had an agreement that I would quit if I didn’t win anything in the European Championship. It was one of the reasons I really wanted to get a medal. I went to the tournament with a really big desire to win. You could say that silver helped me stay in weightlifting.”

Photo: Mediamax


Woman’s strength: “Mentality is different in women’s weightlifting. Sure, men are strong, but women fight more. Nothing comes easily to us, so we have a stronger desire to show that we can do more and win medals.”

Keep looking for something new: “Weightlifting makes me strive for me. I love learning new things, fighting for what I want, proving that I can do anything. No one can just keep standing in one spot, we have to keep moving and finding new roads, because if you follow only one way, you can’t achieve good results.”

Photo: Mediamax


Extreme focus/tunnel vision:  “I see and hear nothing when I’m doing the exercises. If I notice anyone, I’ll be distracted and I won’t be able to focus anymore. I can hear my coach, but from afar. In these moments, I am alone with the barbell. The responsibility is huge, because I have been in weightlifting for many years and I feel obliged to perform well.”

Photo: Mediamax


The barbell: “You can’t lie to the barbell. You need to love it and convince it, but never lie to it. Sometimes, I have a bad training day, but I should never get disappointed or disheartened. I have to be ready for the tournament, whatever the cost.”

Self-criticism: “Any difficulty can be overcome. I don’t like talking about problems and finding excuses. If I look for a reason, I will find a thousand: an injury, a poorly-equipped venue, the coach’s fault… I just tell myself that it is my mistake and my responsibility. Maybe, I just have to train better. For me, the approach of blaming everyone but yourself is unacceptable.”

Photo: Mediamax


The dream: “We were at a training camp in Tsaghkadzor when the international federation released the ranking. I was the 8th in my weight category, which was an achievement for me. I have always dreamed of participating in the Olympics. I knew I would do it one day. Now, I am dreaming of winning a medal, and that is possible too.”

Photo: Mediamax


Going for the goal: “My goal is to perform well. I am not particularly emotion, maybe, that is why I am not particularly excited yet. Yes, these are the Olympics we’re talking about, but everything is going normal.”

Armenia’s Olympic team: “We have a strong team, everyone has something to show. If you have reached this level, it means you deserve to be in the Olympics. We will all fight till the end.”

Photo: Mediamax


Importance of victory: “Victories are very important for our people. We have to make Armenia visible again in the international platforms, show our best again. Our nation needs it.”

Winner and medalist of Youth and Junior European and World Championships

Silver medalist in two exercises of the European Championship

Gohar Nalbandyan
Photos: Emin Aristakesyan

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