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History of Bulgarian Decathletes - part one (1)

Dec 06, 2015

Bulgarian Decathlon Lions - brave fighters in Balkan Games

The traditions of Bulgarian decathlon stars during XX century were longlive and deserved some respect and good memories…..

Let go through those memories and notice the historic figures and facts that impress more of all.

TLyuben Doychevhe first most talented all-rounder in Bulgaria was Lyuben Doychev. Born in Sofia on 26 October 1911, he raised quickly on the athletic scene and began to break the national records in different events….Yet on 30 Aug 1930 Doychev bettered Bulgarian best mark in SP – 12.83 m. A month later in Athina (at the second Balkaniade) Doychev won bronze medal at PV with another record – 3.60 m. Doychev made four more Bulgarian records at PV (up to 3.90 in 1934).

The first great success in Decathlon Lyuben Doychev achieved at the First Balkan Decathlon Champ held in Sofia on 08-09 July 1934 (separately from the Balkan Games in Zagreb in the same year). The contest began at the “Yunak” stadium in bulgarian capital. Yugoslavian Ivo Buratovic commenced first day with best results (100 m 11.1, LJ 6.86 and 1.78 HJ) contra Doychev (first at SP 12.36 and 54.9 400 m, also 11.4 at 100 m, 6.67 LJ and 1.65 HJ))…. At the beginning of second day Buratovic widened his advance with another victory – 15.2 at 110 m hurdles (Yugoslavian record), more than one second ahead of Doychev (16.3). After that began the athack of Bulgarian. 38.58 DT, 3.85 PV, 46.59 JT and 5:26.0 at 1500. Ivo tried to respond - 31.76 DT, 3.55 PV – YUG record), 38.03 JT and 5:49.0 at 1500 m. But that was insufficient – the title and gold medal went to Doychev (7289.20 (6418 p.), 5944 points according current table) ahead of Ivo Buratovic (6719.49; 6219 p.). The both marks are considered as national records. Buratovic, most impressed by his rival success, confessed: “Congratulation to Doychev, that outstanding athlete. I have to be glad of my marks here. The public was awesome, thanks a lot to the crowd. And more important for me is that I gained a new friend – Lyuben Doychev!””

Two months later Lyuben Doychev travelled to Torino to participate at the first European champs, but couldn’t start, because of administrate formalities….. Meanwhile during her studying in Berlin Sport High School he has marked a magnificent result at PV – 4.01 m. That happened in a match between Berlin and Poznan students in the spring of 1934.

Second Balkan decathlon title in a row for Lyuben Doychev was in Athina (“Averoff” stadium) on 25-26 may 1935 (again separately from Balkaniade in Istanbul same year). Yet at first event Doychev was ahead – 11.1. The second event – long jump ended with Bulgarian record – 6.75 m, followed by 12.73 SP, 1.60 HJ and 53.4 400 m. The score after first day for Lyuben was 3502 p., ahead of Yugoslavian Jovan Mikic 3352 p. The second day began terribly for Lyuben Doychev. After passing one of thew hurdles (at 110 m h) he fell very badly. Lyuben stood up quickly and overwhelmed the rest hurdles finishing for 18.2. Doychev followed with 37.56 DT, 3.81 PV, 45.14 JT and 5:22.3 at 1500 m. the sum was calculated 6293 points (by old score).

Lyuben Doychev was honored to take a part in XIth Olympiade in Berlin. A week before Games Lyuben had injured his right knee. But nevertheless he began bravely the battle and eventually finished 14th with 6307 p. (5944 at current tables). Lyuben began with 11.5 at 100 m (winner at eighth heat). But after that he didn’t feel himself comfprtably – 6.35 LJ, 12.36 SP, 1.70 HJ and 54.1 400 m. At the beginning of second day Doychev was first at 110 m hurdles (seventh heat) with 16.3. That was followed by 38.25 at DT and weak 3.70 m at PV (Doychev injured his left arm during one of attempts). Bulgarian managed to throw javelin 48.43 and to ended with 5:34.2 at 1500 m. His score was 6307 points (5944 p. on current table). Doychev rested well behind th US trio Glenn Morris 7235 WR, Bob Clark 7063 and Jack Parker 6760 points and European record holder Erwin Huber (De) 6634 points….

During his outstanding carrier Lyuben Doychev made 12 breaks of Bulgarian record in five events – 110 m hurdles (16.2; 16.2 and 15.6), at PV (twice 3.60, 3.70 and twice 3.90); LJ (6.67 and 6.75), SP (12.83 & 13.07 form 1936) and decathlon 5598 points…..

Stoyan SlavkovThe successor of Bulgarian decathlon tradition was talented all-rounder Stoyan Slavkov. Born in Sofia on 13 Dec 1932, Stoyan commenced with football and basketball. But only 17 years old he took a part in first track and field contest. His first love was long jump. Slavkov became second Bulgarian that overwhelmed seven meters at LJ (after Atanas Kalinkov). That happened in 1954 – 7.07 m (in the same year he made another three breaks – 7.09, 7.11 and 7.13). Another four records were made in 1955 – 7.26, 7.39, 7.40 and 7.47 m. Two breaks were recorded in 1957 – 7.48 and 7.50. The last LJ record for Stoyan is recorded in 1959 – 7.51 m. In parallel Slavkov made three records at HJ – 1.90, 1.92 & 1.93 m. And eight breaks of Decathlon record – 5614, 5643, 5857, 6353, 6510, 6552, 6746 and finally 7163 points.

In 1954 at EC in Bern Slavkov took the tenth place at decathlon with 5645 – national record (6316 under current scores). After poor start 11.7; 6.61; 11.38, in HJ Slavkov was the best among the 19 athletes – 1.85…He completed the first day at sixth position. But the second day was some disappointing and ….10th place at the end…..

Stoyan Slavkov became Balkan decathlon champion three years in a row – in Athina 1957 5740 points, in Sofia 1958 with 6746 points (NR) and in 1959 year in Bucuresti with 6955 points (7163 according to 1971 tables) – 11.1; 7.12; 12.58; 1.98; 50.8/ 15.1; 36.64; 3.80; 48.32; 4:48.6….. He proceed to compete till 1964. After retiring Slavkov became extremely successful coach. Among “his” athletes are Diana Yorgova (silver medalist in Munich’1972 at LJ), Petar Bogdanov (Bulgarian record holder in HJ 2.17), Spas Dzhourov (decathlon record holder with 7657 p.), Daniela Teneva (100 m hurdles record holder with 13.02), balkan pentathlon champion Snezhana Yurukova with 4568 points……

1968

After Slavkov on decathlon throne raised talented Spas Dzhourov. He soon began to win national titles in decathlon – 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1974……. His first national record was 7312 (7125) points in 1967, folowed by 7335 (7140) in Plauen (GDR) on June 1968… At the beginning of September 1968 in Athina Spas Dzhourov became Balkan champion with an excellent score 7458 (7261) – 10.9; 6.82; 16.10; 1.89; 50.3/ 16.1; 43.52; 3.90; 51.68; 4:41.6). Spas departed for Olympiade in Mexico with good confidence.

In Mexico Dzhurov commenced brilliantly – 10.95 at 100 m plus 7.40 at LJ. But that was followed by mediocre 13.99 Sp, 1.89 HJ and 50.28 400 m. At second day Spas tried to compensate the things, but 15.17 at 110 m hurdles (PB), 40.90 DT, only 3.60 PV, 47.04 JT and exhausting 5:15.58 1500 m threw him with score 7151 (7056) back to 16th place….

1969

Spas Dzhourov returned to European stage with another record 7511 (7335) for the fourth place at the Grand meeting in Schieleiten (Austria) at the beginning of June 1969. After second successive Balkan title in Sofia (7351, 7176 by current table) at the end of August Spas (together with his main Bulgarian rival through the years Yordan Mlyakov) flied to Athina for the European Champs. There he fought for 10th place (7390 – 7210 points), followed by compatriot Mlyakov (17th with 7016-6851)…..

1970

Next year Spas Dzhourov bettered Bulgarian record with 7543 points (7379) at the National champs in Sofia on 27 June (10.8; 6.84; 15.84; 1.70; 49.8/ 15.3; 43.60; 4.00; 56.80; 4:33.8). At Balkaniade in Bucuresti on 14-15 August Dzhourov lead after the first day – 10.8 100 m, 6.82 LJ, 15.78 SP, 1.81 HJ, 49.7 400 m. Second day was also good – 14.9 110 m h, 43.68 DT, 4.30 PV… But “his” javelin was wake – only 47.68. On the other side Romanian recordman Kurt Sokol was perfect at secong half – 110 m hurdles 14.4, DT 49.10, PV 4.10; JT 61.80 and 4:37.3 at 1500 m and with 7771 score beat Dzhourov for more than 100 points.

1971

In January 1971 Spas underwent surgery of Achilles in Wien (by famous doctor Jelinek), but six months later he became again national champion with7188 (7003)… In September Dzhourov won silver medal at Balkaniade in Zagreb with 7415, only 43 points behind Romanian Vasile Bogdan. For regret another injury prevented Spas preparing for the XXth Olympiade’72…..

1973

Rumen PetrovIn 1973 bulgarian capital Sofia was chosen to be hometown of the one of three EC semifinals of the inaugural European Cup for combined events. A month before (early July) in Kobenhavn Spas Dzhourov was winner at decathlon with 7535 points (7368). At the end of July junior athlete Rumen Markov Petrov (19 years old) won Balkan junior title in Bucuresti with 7094 point (6900).

At 11-12 August in Sofia Bulgarian trio Yordan Mlyakov (11th with 7521 p. – 7381), Spas Dzhourov 15th with 7484 poins – 7307) and Georgi Goulev (16th with 7422 – 7235 & 48.37 at 400 m) managed to place Bulgaria for the final in Bonn at the end of September. The team score was 22427 p., behind USSR 23270, Poland 23226 and GDR 23009……

Spas Dzhourov travelled to her seventh Balkaniade at the end of August in Athina. He gather there a good score – 7649 (7580) – 11.24; 6.89; 15.79; 1.81; 50.29/ 15.58; 43.70; 4.40; 57.14; 4:27.38)….But at the Europa Cup final in Bonn on 22-23 September bulgarian team was weak and unstable – Dzhourov 25th with 7178 (7078), Georgi Gulev 29th with 7028 (6926) and Mlyakov 33th with 6807… Bulgarians placed ninth out of ten teams….

1974

At the Bulgarian Spartakiade at the end of June 1974 the 31 years old veteran Yordan Mlyakov took the title with 7381 (7242), ahead of Razvigor Yankov 7339 (7139). Twentieth years old Rumen Markov Petrov on his side took silver medal at Balkaniade in Sofia with 7515 p. (7410) – 11.27; 6.98; 14.20; 1.92; 49.00/ 16.02; 44.56; 3.80; 54.90; 4:27.29). The same Petrov, himself a very promised and talented young decathlete, bettered Bulgarian national record with a single point – 7658 (7489) in Sofia on 25th August 1974. His marks: 11.1; 7.09; 14.64; 1.89; 49.2/ 15.4; 42.62; 4.10; 54.02; 4:26.9…..

1975

Razvigor YankovAt the inaugural International Multiple events tournament in Götzis on 31 May – 01 June 1975 Rumen Markov Petrov placed second in Decathlon with 7563 points (7396) – 11.1; 7.23; 13.86; 1.98; 50.5/ 15.7; 44.94; 3.80; 55.42; 4:34.7 – only 28 (!) points behind the winner Peter Kratky (CSR)… Petrov became national champion with 7503 p., followed by  7448 p. (7265). At Balkan Games in Bucuresti Rumen won bronze medal with 7457 poins (7326), behind Romanian Vasile Bogdan 7699 and Nicolau 7542… Here young Georgi Goulev placed fourth with 7228 points. At PV (height 3.80) he broke her left leg in the pit. But he continued to compete – for the team. He completed JT and after that finished first (!) at 1500 m, overcoming “host” Bogdan at the final 150 m!!

In Varna at the beginning of September took place The Congress of the International Olympic Committee. There were also athletic events into the schedule. Rumen Markov Petrov bettered once more his own national record – 7875 (7708) – 10.8; 7.15; 14.30; 2.00; 49.0/ 15.6; 45.18; 4.00; 57.20; 4:26.7). Petrov was followed by Ravigor Yankov 7348 (7152).

1976

The Olympic 1976 Year began early at the end of April. Rumen Petrov won the first decathlon with 7539 (7379). A month later, on 30 may in Sofia Rumen Petrov took new national record – 7894 p. (7750) – (11.1; 7.08; 15.38; 2.01; 49.6/ 15.4; 45.98; 4.00; 61.08; 4:29.8). Second placed Razvigor Yankov 7825 p. (7678) – (10.8; 7.06; 15.26; 1.86; 50.0/ 15.4; 48.04; 4.40; 57.94; 4:42.7). At Multiple meeting in Spala on 12-13 June Atanas Andonov was fifth with 7482 (7407)…. And at Balkaniade in Celje on 18-19 June 1976 Razvigor Yankov became Balkan champion with 7682 p. (7527 (10.8; 6.70; 15.89; 1.82; 49.9/ 15.6; 50.72; 4.30; 58.26; 4:56.4). Silver medal was awarded to Rumen Petrov with 7520 p. (7347)…

In Sofia on 29-30 June 1976 another talented athlete – Dimo Mitev Dobrev scored 7579 p. (7430) – 11.2; 7.29; 14.01; 1.95; 50.9/ 14.7; 41.26; 3.80; 58.20; 4:35.7). Two weeks later – again in Sofia – Atanas Andonov was nearly perfect – 7868 p. (7718) – 10.8; 7.20; 13.82; 1.98; 49.7/ 14.8; 41.30; 4.20; 60.50; 4:32.8), followed by Stoyan Delinski 7516 p. (7368)…

Another young and talented prodigy from new generation – 18 years old Petko Bogoev Marinov won gold medal at the yearly junior tournament (only for Eastern Block countries) “Druzhba” (Friendship) held in Zielona Goras, Poland. He gained the victory with score of 6903 points (6819) – 11.53; 6.80; 12.55; 1.75; 50.25/ 15.12; 36.76; 3.60; 50.36; 4:30.5).

1977

Atanas AndonovThe year after Olympiade – 1977 – was plenty with good scores for Bulgarian decathletes. The record holder Rumen Markov Petrov achieved 7702 (7645) yet on 26 June in Sofia, followed by Razvigor Yankov 7538 (7452) and Atanas Andonov 7506 (7439). But at EC sf in Chisinau on 17 July Atanas Andonov was only fifth (7590) and Razvigor Yankov seventh 7339….So there was NO final for Bulgarians…..

At the traditional junior tournament “Druzhba” in Sofia on 06-07 Aug only 17 years old Milko Grozev won silver with 7116 7236 (7116) – 10.74; 6.95; 13.88; 1.92; 51.45/ 16.29; 38.10; 3.80; 56.58; 4:50.0)….

Sofia was hometown also of the Universiade 1977. Rumen Petrov remained only step below the 8000 points limit, winning silver with 7949 (7827) – national record. The marks 11.42; 7.07; 15.27;

2.07; 49.20/ 15.54; 48.24; 4.40; 59.28; 4:35.5. Has had he run 100 m under 11.20, the magic barrier would have been overwhelmed…Fourth at University Games as Atanas Andonov 7872 (7746) – 11.19; 7.01; 13.69; 2.04; 49.36/ 14.70; 44.20; 4.60; 57.00; 4:39.1).

Rumen Petrov and Atanas Andonov ended 1977 with gold and silver at the Bakaniade in Ankara on 09-10.09.1977 with scores of 7673 (7597) 7659 (7599) respectively.

At the junior Balkaniade in Ankara on 01-02 July 1978 Milko Gorzec became champion with 7202 (7054) – 11.00; 7.37; 14.35; 2.00; 51.83/ 15.65; 36.32; 3.90; 54.20; 5:19.2)…

Razvigor Yankov won silver at Balkan Senior Games in Thessaloniki on 12 Aug 1978. His score was 7685 (7643) 11.21; 7.05; 14.96; 1.80; 51.02/ 15.46; 48.76; 4.40; 60.74; 4:36.7). The appearance of Atanas Andonov at EC in Praha was disaster – only 15th with 7590 (7527).

Meanwhile in Pleven on 23-24 Aug 1978 was organized multiple contest. Record holder Rumen Markov Petrov began with 11.20, 7.10, 15.05, excellent 2.10 and 50.18 for the first day. On second day he continued with 16.0 at 110 m hurdles, pb at DT – 51.90; 4.50 at PV and 56.10 at JT. Before 1500 m Petrov scored 7425 points on his own. He was told that whatever he will do, he own’t travel to Praha for EC….. Rumen was angry enough and miss to start at 1500 m. A time of 4:22.5 would has been brought him a score of about 8067 points.

The pre-olympic 1979 began at high level for Bulgarian decathletes. Yet on 04-05 May Atanas Andonov scored 7776 (7635), followed by Tsetsko Mitrakiev 7594 (7427). Twenty days later, again in Sofia, Andonov bcame the first Bulgarian that “leap”over 8000 points. He gained 8012 (7986) – 11.23; 6.72; 14.20; 2.00; 49.55/ 14.57; 44.94; 4.70; 62.94; 4:24.7)… His reserve were on the first three events – 100 m; LJ and SP…. Second was Razvigor Yankov 7796 (7736)…

At junior conest in Yambol on 27-28 June Milko Grozev acheieved 7555 p. (7379 (10.7; 6.75; 15.52; 2.05; 51.4/ 15.4; 35.28; 4.30; 56.86; 4:53.6)….

A great disappointment reached Bulgarians at EC sf in Budapest on 14-25 July. Yankov was fifth 7682 (7632), record holder Andonov – only seventh 7652 (7597)…. Bulgarian team was out for the final in Dresden….

19 years old Milko Grozev became Balkan junior champion in Yambol on 28-29 July. His score was 7491 (7401) – 10.95; 7.17; 14.82; 1.96; 50.53; 15.89; 38.64; 4.20; 56.78; 4:54.2). That youngster was not so tall (1.74 m), but was very strong and flexible, with great speed and bouncing. For regret only three weeks later, at junior EC in Bydgoszcz, Grozev began very well and was among the first six juniors after seventh event with score of 5343 p. When warming for PV, he injured badly and was forced to withdraw….. His teammate Stanislav Katsarov placed sixth overall with 7221 (7116)…

to be continued with reviews of eighties...

Alexander Vangelov for Decathlon 2000

Comments (1)

GOUSSET wrote on Dec 07, 2015
Very interesting, Alexander ! We look forward for the follow
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