Shirak State University professor, political scientist Gagik Hambaryan in an interview with Aravot.am on November 18 said that weightlifter Meline (Mel) Daluzyan was stripped of their medals because of use of prohibited stimulants.
Hambaryan, in particular, notes that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement in the National Assembly on November 13 that Daluzyan is a three times European champion is incorrect.
“First, not three times champion but two – in 2007 and 2008. Mr. Pashinyan again manipulates the numbers here, and second, when Mr. Pashinyan talks about one side of the medal that Meline Daluzyan raised the flag, it should also be mentioned that the same Meline Daluzyan was stripped of those medals, including titles of the Champion of Europe, because [s]he was involved in a doping scandal.”
The Fact Investigation Platform decided to find out whether Gagik Hambaryan’s statement was true or not.
Nikol Pashinyan’s statement indeed contains false information. Meline Daluzyan became Champion of Europe in 2007 and 2008.
However, the other thesis of Hambaryan’s statement is not true.
After the creation of new mechanisms to detect banned stimuli, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to review samples taken from athletes that had participated in the Beijing and London Olympics.This new anti-doping process proceeds as follows: in case of Adverse Analytical Finding, the IOC informs the relevant National Olympic Committee and the International Weightlifting Federation.
After that, the IOC decides what to do with the results, after which only the International Federation makes a decision. The IOC only makes decisions about the Olympics. When the Committee completes its examination of the case of the athlete, the International Weightlifting Federation makes its own decision on sanctions against weightlifters.
The latest publication of the Weightlifting Federation on Daluzyan’s results was in December 2018. The official statement reads: “The International Olympic Committee is responsible for determining all the consequences of the 2012 Olympic Games. With the participation of athletes in London Olympics. If the violation of anti-doping rule is confirmed, the decision on the results of athletes in other competitions other than the Olympics will be passed on to the International Weightlifting Federation. The federation will no longer make a statement until the athletes’ cases are closed.”
Daluzyan’s case is currently being investigated by the International Weightlifting Federation, and no final verdict has been reached.
The fact that Meline Daluzyan’s results have not been nullified yet and she has not been stripped of her earlier achievements, i.e. the “titles”, is available on the official website of the International Weightlifting Federation. For comparison it should be noted that, for example, all of Hripsime Khurshudyan’s results have been nullified since 2008.
Considering all this, we can say that Gagik Hambaryan’s statement is wrong. Meline Daluzyan has not been deprived of their medals and titles because of the banned stimulants, as their case is still under investigation by the International Weightlifting Federation.
Meline Daluzyan did not leave the sport because of their age
In the same interview, Gagik Hambaryan claims that Meline Daluzyan retired from the sport not because of the attitude towards them or because of “lapidating” but because of their age. “Meline Daluzyan ended up in a very difficult situation in the sport due to her mistakes and automatically, also taking into account her age, has left the active sport life,” he said.
It should be noted that Meline Daluzyan’s last major tournament as an athlete was the World Weightlifting Championship in 2014, when they was 26 years old. Do female weightlifters leave active sport at this age?
Let’s consider the age of other athletes.
Former member of the Armenian national team Nazik Avdalyan took part in the Olympic Games in 2016 at the age of 30 and took the 5th place. In the same year սhe competed in the European Championship and won a gold medal.
Thus, Hambaryan’s notion that Daluzyan’s reason to quit the sport was because of the age is manipulative.
Funding for the film “Mel” is not gratuitous
In an interview with “Aravot” daily, Gagik Hambaryan’s other claim relates to the financing of the film “Mel”.
“Two days prior his speech in the National Assembly, Nikol Pashinyan met with the students who were on a strike in front of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, and announced that Armenia co-finances 10% of the film “Mel”. However, from the tribune of the National Assembly it was revealed that we are actually financing 14%.
Now, it would not be surprising to me that after some time it will be revealed that Armenia co-finances 20 or 25 percent,” the professor notes.
It should be noted that the film “Mel” has participated in a film competition announced by the National Cinema Center. As a result, it was included in the top 10 films that would receive funding.
The film was submitted to the feature film competition and received 14% funding. Speaking to FIP.am, Ruzanna Bagratunyan, spokesperson for the National Cinema Center, confirmed that the agreement between the Cinema Center and the film makers was signed over 14% financing.
In addition, she added that some money will be returned to the state in the future. “Under the contract, 14 percent of the film’s profits will be transferred to the National Center,” Bagratunyan said.
Taking into account the abovementioned circumstances we can conclude that the state co-financing of the film “Mel” cannot be 20 or 25 percent, as the contract defines a specific amount – 14 percent.
Thus, the allegations made by Shirak State University professor Gagik Hambaryan in an interview with Aravot.am about Mel Daluzyan’s athletic performance and the film “Mel” are false and manipulative.