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6th European Cup of Combined Events – Sofia 1983 (0)

Alexander Vangelov
May 14, 2020
In first “straight” final – the favorites got what deserved

24 days after 1st World Champs in Helsinki completed, in Bulgarian Capital Sofia took part 6th European Cup Final of combined events. For the first time it had to be straight final, without qualifying rounds (semifinals). Only six teams participated at each men & women schedule. In men’s program the teams were from Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Switzerland, USSR, Poland, German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the hosts from Bulgaria. Women’s teams were from GDR, USSSR, Bulgaria, FRG, Great Britain and Northern Ireland (GBR) and Hungary. Soft autumn weather and relatively good conditions of National Stadium “Vassil Levski” surrounded competitors during weekend contest on 10 & 11 September 1983…..

From the left: Guido Kratschmer, Siegfried Wentz and Jürgen Hingsen. However, Hingsen's start is very questionable.

Among men’s teams the organizers (and spectators most of all) were some disappointed not to welcome the silver medalist at WC Helsinki 1983 and world record holder Jürgen Hingsen (FRG) (injured), the sixth in Helsinki Aleksandr Nevski (URSS), seventh Torsten Voss (GDR). By women the notable absentees were: Sabine Paetz (GDR) second at Heptathlon at WC, Anke Vater – third in Helsinki and some others……

Let’s march together through the two competitive days and remind what just happened then.


100 M. In first heat winner was West German Jens Schulze 10.75 (-0.4), followed far behind by Polish Adam Baginski 11.10. Andreas Rizzi (FRG) was more impressive in second heat – 10.55 (0.4) ahead of Wolfgang Lindner (GDR) 10.99. Suisse Michele Rüfenacht won third heat with 10.90 (-1.0) followed by soviet Igor Sobolevskiy 11.01 and ex WR holder Guido Kratschmer (FRG) 11.06. And in last fourth heat the fifth from Helsinki Stephan Niklaus (Suisse record holder) was fastest with 10.80 (-0.5), purchased by polish Dariusz Ludwig 11.08 and soviet Viktor Gruzenkin 11.10. In all, only five decathletes gave times under 11 seconds – Rizzi (10.55), Schulze 10.75, Niklaus 10.80, Rüfenacht 10.90 and Lindner 10.99. Team stendings: FRG 2576, Switzerland 2425, USSR 2348, Poland 2338, GDR 2301, Bulgaria 2230…..

LONG JUMP. Soviet athlete Igor Sobolevski made pb ot 7.76 (0.2) in his third try to lead the Group A. Niklaus 7.48 (0.4), Ludwig 7.46 (0.0) Maciej Jedral (Pol) 7.42 (0.0) were some 30-35 cm behind in the same first group. Niklaus was in danger making two fouls in raw before marking 7.48. In group B Soviet Sergei Pugach landed at 7.58 (0.2), followed by West German Rizzi 7.44 (0.3). But bronze medalist in Helsinki Siegfried Wentz (FRG) after 7.39 (0.3) made excellent third leap at about 7.60 m, but it was declared a foul. Fourth from WC Uwe Freimuth (GDR) didn’t achieve his best (7.37), but stayed in touch albeit…. Standings after second event: Rizzi 1828, Sobolevski 1774, Niklaus 1771, Schulze 1742, Pugach 1703, Ludwig 1698, Jedral 1678, Lindner 1678, Kratschmer 1669, Rüfenacht 1665, Gruzenkin 1661, Wentz 1653, Freimuth 1642 and so on. Team standings: FRG 5239, USSR 5138, Poland 4964, Switzerland 4943, GDR 4938, Bulgaria 4690.

SHOT PUTTING. Both GDR athletes Steffen Grummt (16.03) and Uwe Freimuth (16.00) exceed limit of 16.00 m, but Niklaus (15.77) and Gruzenkin (15.51) were not enough content, as Sobolevski (15.10) and Wentz (15.04) also made marks some below their bests. All mentioned athletes competed  in Group A and the superior in Group B was Wolfgang Lindner (GDR) 14.95, followed by Bulgarian Ivan Krastev 14.79, Schulze 14.66, Rizzi 14.50….. Standings after third event: Niklaus 2605, Rizzi 2587, Sobolevski 2569, Schulze 2510, Freimuth 2489, Gruzenkin 2480, Grummt 2467, Lindner 2464, Wentz 2444, Ludwig 2425, Kratschmer 2422, Pugach 2419. Team standings after third event: FRG 7541, USSR 7468, GDR 7420, Switzerland 7189, Poland 7096 and Bulgaria 6950.

Uwe Freimuth exceeding the hight 2.01 m

HIGH JUMP. All the decathletes jumped below her abilities. Surprisingly the best man appeared to be Bulgarian Cecko Mitrakiyev. The blonde and always smiled man recorded relatively modest 2.07 m in Group A. Other four men achieved 2.04 m – both Polish Baginski and Ludwig and two West Germans – Wentz and Schulze. And four others succeed at 2.01 m - Bulgarian Stanislav Katsarov, Suisse Niclaus, Soviet Gruzenkin and GDR Freimuth. After fourth event Niklaus (3470) and Rizzi (3427) kept their leadership, followed by Schulze (3401), Sobolevski (3382), Freimuth (3354), Gruzenkin (3345), Wentz (3335), Ludwig (3316), Rüfenacht (3232), Pugach (3232), Bulgarian Mitrakiev (3229), Grummt (3227), Kratschmer (3210), Baginski (3208)…… FRG extended its leading role with 10163, ahead of USSR 9959, GDR 9752, Poland 9718, Switzerland 9654, Bulgaria 9572...

400 M. The crowd saw Jens Schulze (FRG) winning the first heat at exhausting 400 m with 48.20 ahead of Polish Baginski 49.00. Fast Andreas Rizzi (FRG) with 47.01 (947 points) was the best of all to finish with exactly 1.80 seconds ahead Soviet Sergei Pugach (48.81) in the second heat. In third heat only three hundredths separated first (Rüfenacht 48.86) from second (Grummt 48.89). Not so far behind arrived Kratschmer (48.99) and Jedral (49.08)….. The last heat 4 appeared as most tough – Niklaus (47.76) just edged Freimuth (48.17) & Wentz (48.17)… West German Andreas Rizzi (4374) depleted Niklaus (4380) advantage to six points. Schulze (4290) himself kept third spot and Freimuth (4244) and Wentz (4225) overwhelmed Sobolevski (4223) for fifth place. Soviet Gruzenkin (4161) and Polish Ludwig (4142) placed seventh & eighth after first day….. Pugach (4092), Rüfenacht (4089), Grummt (4083), Kratschmer (4061), Baginski (4059) stood on places between 9 and 13. Team standings overnight: FRG 12889, USSR 12476, GDR 12312, Switzerland 12246, Poland 12242, Bulgaria 11848.

110 M HURLDES. At the end of active season almost all favorites looked some out of shape. The commencing event of second competitive day offered not the best appearances of most of contenders. In first heat Jens Schulze (14.55) (-0.3) finished ahead of Polish Baginski (14.71). Unheralded Wojciech Podsiadlo won second race 14.74 (0.3) followed by Pugach 14.85. Ex world record holder Kratschmer arrived first in third heat in 14.42 (-0.3), purchased by Suisse Rüfenacht (14.48) and GDR Grummt (14.65)….. And “Macho dentist” from Mainz Siegfried Wentz was persuasive in the last fourth heat – 14.19 (-0.3) – the best of all! Freimuth run for second (14.54) in that heat and third arrived Bulgarian record holder Atanas Andonov (14.69). Gruzenkin left fourth 14.77 and Niclaus – fifth (14.86)…. The battle for first place individually proceed - Niklaus (5244) increased his leadership ahead of Rizzi (5219) from seven to twenty five points. Schulze kept third spot with 5188 points, but Wentz was not so far behind – 5165 p. Freimuth (fifth in 5143) also aimed for head position. Soviet Gruzenkin (5034) and Sobolevski (5030) lost some 60-70 points to drop down to 6 & 7 spot. Rüfenacht 4995 (8th), veteran Kratschmer 4974 (9th), Grummt 4970 (10th), Pugach 4957 (11th), Ludwig 4951 (12th), Baginski 4939 (13th) – all they have to support their own teams…. Team standings after 6th event: FRG 15572, USSR 15021, GDR 14881, Switzerland 14858, Poland 14745 and Bulgaria 14349….

DISCUS THROWING. Bulgarian record holder Atanas Andonov was rather criticized by his national headquarters and burst in rage in his third attempt at DT – 49.84. That result was best of the day! GDR throwers Freimuth (48.16) and Lindner (48.12) positioned a meter before Niklaus (47.18) and Grummt (47.12). Some behind were Gruzenkin (45.44), Bulgarian Krastev (45.30), Kratschmer (44.94) and Rüfenacht (44.66) were on her own to help their squads. After seventh event Niklaus (6065) escaped a fraction off Freimuth (5982), Schulze (5953) and Rizzi (5934). Dr. Wentz stayed fifth (5902), Gruzenkin sixth (5823), Grummt (5790) seventh, Sobolevski (5775) eighth, Rüfenacht (5770) ninth, Kratschmer (5754) tenth, Ludwig (5700) eleventh, Pugach (5696) twelfth, Baginski (5685) thirteenth, Andonov (5667) fourteenth…. The FRG team (17789) extended the gap for first spot ahead of GDR (17378) for 411 points and Soviets were third in 17294, Suisses 17167, Poland 16862 and Bulgaria 16729 points.

POLE VAULT. Blonde GDR man Uwe Freimuth was superior at Pole Vault with 4.90 m (1028) and jumped on the top with 7010 points, some 61 points ahead of ex leader Niklaus (only 4.30 m) (6949 p.). Jens Schulze maintained his third place (6910) with 4.60 m, as high as Sobolevski, Lindner, polish Jedral – all with 4.60 m…. Ten cm higher (4.70 m) occurred for Gruzenkin, Pugach, Podsiadlo (Pol). With the bar raised to 4.80 m coped Andonov, and no height for Polish Baginski and Katsarov….. Andreas Rizzi (4.50) stood fourth with 6866, Dr. Wentz – fifth 6811, Gruzenkin – sixth 6804, Sobolevski – seventh 6732, Kratschmer – eighth 6686, Rüfenacht – ninth 6679, Pugach – tenth 6677 points, Grummt – eleventh 6674, Andonov – twelfth 6672…. Current team placement: FRG 20587, GDR second 20247 (depleted the gap), USSR 20213, Switzerland 19884, Bulgaria 19575 and Poland dropped to last place with 19493 points…..

JAVELIN THROWING. Four decathletes exceed 70 m line at the ninth event – javelin throwing. Igor Sobolevski added 3.50 m to his current 68.66 m in the last throw – 72.06 (902 p.). Suisse Niklaus also tried to do his best (71.36), but bearded dentist Dr. Wentz (70.48) didn’t stay pleased. Uwe Freimuth threw the spear to 70.26. Polish Jedral (67.82) and Soviet Gruzenkin (67.04) stayed unsatisfied, also Ludwig (62.70), Grummt (62.24), third Suisse Thomas Staubli (61.62) and Andonov (60.50). After penultimate event (ninth in row) Freimuth hold the leadership (7892), some 49 points before Suisse Stephan Niklaus (7843), Dr. Wentz (7696) went third, ahead two soviets Gruzenkin (7649) and Sobolevski (7634), Schulze fell to sixth (7570) after weak 52.04 as also compatriot Rizzi (7558) because of the same poor javelin – 54.48…. Grummt advanced four places to eighth – 7462 points. And host from Bulgaria Atanas Andonov climbed to ninth place (7439). The margin between Ludwig (7403) and Rüfenacht (7398) and Kratschmer (7396) was fragile (only 7 points).... Pugach – 13th with 7321 and Lindner – 14th with 7304 lost certain expectations…… The GDR squad (22658) decreased the margin from FRG team (22658) to 166 points. USSR team was firm third with 22604, Switzerland fourth 22238, Poland regained fifth place 21852 and Bulgaria sixth – 21776 points.

1500 M. The athletes were scheduled in two heats according current team standings. In first heat Polish Podsiadlo won in 4:27.37, ahead ot Suisse Staubli 4:29.08, Ludwig 4:32.62, Bulgarian Mitrakiev 4:42.31, fourth Suisse Armin Spoerri 4:44.13 and his teammate Rüfenacht 4:44.38 and… Niklaus 4:49.23. Second heat of 1500 m presented more tough rivalry. At second heat Soviet Pugach demonstrated his long  and assertive sprint at last 250 meters and finished first of 4:23.09. East German Steffen Grummt (4:25.69) edged West Germans Rizzi (4:25.75) and Schulze (4:25.86). Not so far behind arrived Freimuth (4:27.04). About eight seconds later arrived Kratschmer (4:35.95), exhausted Dr. Wentz (4:35.91) ….. The pursuing group was headed by Gruzenkin (4:42.13) and Mitrakiev (4:42.31) and all “they” concluded the contest.

After dissapoining fourth spot at WC in Helsinki GDR man Uwe Freimuth recovered enough his shape and won individual Decathlon contest with new National Record of 8501 points, firmly (almost 200 points!) before Stephan Niklaus 8312, Dr. Wentz 8246, Schulze 8187, Rizzi 8176, Gruzenkin 8160, Sobolevski 8090, Grummt 8081, Ludwig 7974, Pugach 7958, Kratschmer 7946, Rüfenacht 7896, Andonov 7866, Lindner 7777, Podsiadlo 7768, Jedral 7740….. The Federal Republic of Germany team won the Team European Cup in Sofia with 24609 points. The weak appearance of Lindner (GDR) caused the lost of first place his team and German Democratic Republic team remained second with 24359 points. USSR team stayed third with 24208 p., fourth was Switzerland 23800. Poland 23482 stood fifth and Bulgaria remained on devastating sixth and last place with 23093 points.

Alexander Vangelov for Decathlon 2000

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