Childview visits sponsored child Armen, 14, and his mom, Armine, 44, at their home in the Yerevan community in Armenia, to chat about fencing, his future in the sport and the importance of his relationship with his sponsor
When did your son begin to fence? Armine: Armen started fencing four or five years ago. [One day] he came back from school and said a man came to school and announced about sports classes. The sports school was very far and we didn’t have money to pay for the classes or for transport, but Armen said everything is free and there’s a special sport school bus which takes everyone to school and back. Armen never asked for something that much with big open eyes. So my husband and I agreed.
Who were his first teachers or coaches? Armine: Armen’s first and only coach, Mr. Madoyan is a great person. He has a calm and kind character. Mr. Madoyan is like a second father for his students: he doesn’t like mistakes or omissions, but always pushes them forward, cheerleading, motivating and being delighted with student achievements.
Why have you dedicated yourself to fencing? Armen: I started attending fencing classes to find out about the sport. Then, little by little, I noticed that the sport is an easy one for me: I don’t use too much power, too much thinking, too much attention; everything I use to win is natural to me. It became something like a habit.
What do you like about fencing? Armen: Sports are a place to free your mind from daily worries. In the fencing club, everyone is equal. We wear the same uniform and look like twins. Nobody cares if one is poor or the other has a rich family. We are treated by our coach equally. And I like to stay longer there. I concentrate on competitions and learn from the coach even basics skills of being a good person and a good friend.
What competitions or medals has your son won? Armine: Armen took part in various local and international competitions. Once, he visited Georgia, later Poland, Latvia and then Kuwait. The fencing helps my child visit the countries we could never afford. All the time he brings the first-, second- or third-place medal or a cup, or just a certificate of participation. My husband smiles and I notice tears in his eyes.
Would you like to compete at the Olympics? Armen: I don’t think so. The Olympics are a place where everybody is photographed, video taken, highlighted, broadcasted, chaos. I don’t like to be in public that much.
How has sponsorship helped you and your family? Armen: I have a friend outside of Armenia thinking about me. We write letters to each other and share our achievements. My sponsor is a young translator who works a lot to be able to support me and my family. I wish I could have the same strong will to be able to take care [of] others.
Describe your relationship to your sponsor. Armen: To be in touch with someone you don’t know is not an easy task. Although I have her photos and can recognize her handwriting from million other papers, I still am shy to say that I know so little about my sponsor. I don’t speak much—either at home or with my friends. Writing to my friend/sponsor is the only way I can share my feelings, and about my achievements.
I know when I receive a new medal or win the competition with locals and friends, I catch myself thinking about memorizing that moment to share with my sponsor. I guess she is my elder sister and I want her to be proud of me.
What are your plans for the future? Armen: When I was very young, I thought I would be a cook. [Today], I like cooking barbecue at friends’ houses when I go to birthday parties. We light a fire and talk to each other while the food is getting deliciously ready. But now I hope that I can [go] to the institute of physical education and continue my sports path.
INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED.
This article was published on April 10, 2015.