Wednesday, April 11, 2007

1952, Helsinki: First silver medal for Yugoslavia

Photo: The 1952 "silver" without a defeat: Kovačić, Bakašun, Vuksanović, Ježić, Radonjić, Ivković and Štakula
For the first time the Yugoslav national water polo team won an Olympic medal – a silver. The silver was the first of nine medals won by the Yugoslav water polo teams, the most successful Yugoslav team in the Games. The “blues” had six victories and two ties (with the Soviets and the Hungarians), and their archrival, Hungary, won the gold only because of a greater goal difference. Both teams had the same number of points. In the second match of the qualifications, the “blues” played against the European champion, the Netherlands. The referee was the same Belgian who had wronged the Yugoslav team at the London Games in 1948 which resulted in the match being replayed. It all happened again in Helsinki. The Belgian’s tendentious judging enabled the Dutch to win 3:2 (the “blues” had 40 fouls and the Dutch 15). The Yugoslav officials lodged a protest and the FINA decided that the match should be replayed. In the new bout Yugoslavia beat the Netherlands 2:1.
Zdravko-Ćiro Kovačić was elected the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

The team: Zdravko KOVAČIĆ, Veljko BAKAŠUN, Ivo ŠTAKULA, Boško VUKSANOVIĆ, Ivica KURTINI, Lovro RADONJIĆ, Zdravko JEŽIĆ, Juraj AMŠEL, Vlado IVKOVIĆ, Marko BRAINOVIĆ and Dragoslav ŠILJAK

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