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Main » 2013 » July » 23 » Vartkes Eskibachian, A great man has passed away...
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Vartkes Eskibachian, A great man has passed away...

Vartkes Eskibachian, another name inked in the history book, one of the first ones. He is the founder of homentmen track and field. He is one of the few coaches who studied abroad, in Portugal, and contributed in the development of Track and Field in Lebanon. The coach of many big names in the sport like Arda Kalpaklian, Esther Metzmoroukian, Anahid Saatjian and more.. M. Vartkes has passed away this morning.

For his memorial, I want to share with you this story of how I met him 3 months ago:

Homentmen was one of the best clubs in track and field back in the sixties, seventies and eighties.
Vartkez, I've heard his name from Arda Kalpaklian when I was writing her biography, and on a Sunday in Bourj Hammoud stadium, at the Armenian School Championship in April this year, I heard his name once again. But this time the man in question was standing before me! I saw an old man wearing a cap and giving the rewards to the winners. His presence was respected by all the people who were there; the organizers, the athletes and the supporters! Impressed, I asked Rafi Tashjian, a former Basketball player and Lory, my teammate and the 400m champion's father, and Elie Dakessian, the former Lebanese record holder in Race Walking back in the seventies and a member in the Federation today, who is this man? They answered "Vartkes"! Elie Dakessian kept on explaining to me who Vartkes is, but I didn't listen! I said to myself "I know this name!" then I said in excitement "Vartkes!! Arda's coach!!”. I stared at him while he was giving the medals for the athletes, and suddenly he turned and looked at me straight in the eyes! I lowered my head and smiled to him, he smiled back and kept looking straight at me. Then he made a movement of hand, he meant saying "Do i know you? I will see you in a moment." I said to myself "Wow! Am I dreaming?" I waited until he finished giving the rewards and went with Rafy to meet him. He was sick, he couldn't speak easily, I told him "I'm Arda's student and athlete", hearing this, he took me in his arms and kissed me telling me to send her greetings. He was so happy!! He returned to the medal ceremony, and after he finished he came back to me, grabbed my hand and took me to meet his wife! He told me that his wife was Arda's friend and teammate, she was a hurdler. She shared with me some good memories, and told me she was a part of the relay team with Arda and Esther when they set a national record in 4x100m relay 40 years ago! I showed them two photos I had taken when interviewing Arda, in photo we have Vartkes, his wife, Arda and Ester, and the other one was for the relay team. They were so happy! He asked me what my specialty is, I told him Long jump and Heptathlon, so he took my hands and checked if my arms were flexible, and he told me for the javelin throw you need to have flexible arms.

Back home, I told Arda that i met her coach; she told me "He's a great man! One day I will tell you how great he is."

I wanted to share with you this story, because i can't keep it to myself, and I want you to know that track and field in Lebanon is rich, there are people like Vartkes, who contributed in the development of this sport in Lebanon. We should continue in this way, the way our ancestors took so that one day their effort and sacrifices will lead our country to the highest ranking.

Elie Saade, my coach and the vice-president of the Federation, told me that "the culture is very important in this sport, and this is what we need to build a respected track and field society". We should learn from these people and continue building the Track and Field Society we dream of!

The relay team

Vartkes and his athletes

From Left to Right: Elie Dakessian, Vartkes Eskibachian, Elie Saade, Krystel Saneh (me)

Vartkes, may your soul rest in peace!

Category: News | Views: 3825 | Added by: krystel | Rating: 5.0/3
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