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15.02.2017, 08:34
"A great as player and person"
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OBITUARY: Former teammates and coaches remember Russian Olympic, world, EHF EURO champion and first EHF EURO top scorer, Vasily Kudinov, who passed away at the age of 47 on 11 February
 

"A great as player and person"

Vasily Kudinov was part of Russia’s golden men’s handball generation in the 1990s; a team that won gold at all levels: Olympic Games, World Championships and EHF EUROs.

Last Saturday, 11 February, Kudinov passed away one week prior to his 48th birthday in the Russian town of Astrakhan where he trained a local youth team.

Former teammates and coaches who have been part of Kudinov’s career remember a person whose impact went beyond handball.

 “We first played together in the Soviet Union’s junior national team in 1987 and we became under 21 world champions in 1989,” says Vive Tauron Kielce head coach Talant Dujshebaev.

“Vasily was not only a great handball player; he was a man with a good and big heart, simply a great person.”

“Like no other, Vasily had a variety of incredible shots, you could not stop him. In his time, he was the best left back in the world.”

Always there when it mattered

Kudinov started his career at Astrakhan; then he played for US Ivry Handball in France as well for German sides Hameln and SC Magdeburg and eventually in Japan.

In 2004, he returned to Astrakhan where he ended his playing career. Besides coaching younger age category teams, he was also part of the coaching staff of the Russian junior national team.

THW Kiel head coach Alfred Gislason was the coach at Hameln and Magdeburg when Kudinov played for the two German clubs.

“Vasily was always there when it mattered. In crucial matches he showed his very best, and even when he was injured you could count on him,” says Gislason.  

“His death is a tragic loss for the world of handball. Vasily had a great character, he was a funny guy.

“There were a rare number of players who could decide a match on their own, Vasily was one of them. And he was a true fighter.”

Steffen Stiebler was Kudinov’s teammate at SC Magdeburg in the 2000/01 season. He remembers “Kudi” very well even though they only played together for one season.

“SC Magdeburg are very sad. Vasily made his mark on SCM’s history on and off the court. He played a major role in his only season with us when we won the German championship and the EHF Cup,” says Stiebler, a former German international and currently SC Magdeburg’s sports director.

No words needed

Despite the long list of trophies he collected on club level, Kudinov was even more successful with the national team.

In 1994, he became the first top scorer at an EHF EURO event when Russia won silver. Two years later, he was part of the team that won the EHF EURO 1996 under the guidance of head coach Vladimir Maximov.

With the former Soviet Union states team (EUN) he became Olympic champion in 1992, a feat he repeated with Russia in 2000. He also won the World Championship with Russia in 1993 and 1997.

One of his teammates back then was Dmitry Torgovanov who coaches the Russian men’s national team these days.

“The news of his death was a shock for me and for Russian handball,” says Torgovanov.

“We played together for eleven years, from 1993 to 2004; his name is connected with the biggest successes of Russian handball.

“When we were on court, Vasily and I understood ourselves without saying a word. Vasily was a classic team player, someone who always put his teammates in the best possible position. He was a great as player and person.”

Photo courtesy of SC Magdeburg


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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