Death of a handball legend

In November 1993, I was nominated as a delegate to the second leg match of the 1/8 final Women's EHF Cup, which took place on 7 November 1993 in Bucharest, Romania between 'Rapid' Bucharest (ROU)  and 'Spartak' Kiev (UKR).

The result of the first leg was 24:18 for Kiev. In the second leg, the first half result was 14:10 for Rapid.

During half-time break I was told that the coach of Kiev, Mr Igor Turchin, one of the biggest names in the world of handball, was lying in the changing-room, probably suffering from a heart attack.

I checked the situation immediately and when I saw that he was being treated by the medical staff of the hosts, I ordered the game to be resumed.

In the 11:45 minute of the second half, I was told that Mr Turchin had died.

After a pause of 10 minutes, I tried to resume the game but it was impossible because of the situation of the Ukrainian team.

The players were distraught, crying and wailing, so I had found it necessary to terminate the game.

There would have been simply no point in continuing with the game. The result when the game was interrupted was 20:14 for Rapid Bucharest.

I took care for the necessary arangements, taken care of by the hosts and I informed EHF about the event. The UKR team decided to return home quickly, and I escorted them to the train.

A sad day and a huge loss for both Ukrainian and international handball.

Editor's note:

Igor Turchin (1936 – 1993) was quite simply a coaching legend. He coached the Soviet and then the Ukrainian national teams from 1973 to 1993, winning three Olympic medals and five world championship medals. His club team, HC Spartak Kiev, won the Soviet title 20 times (1969–1988) and the Champions Cup (forerunner to the EHF Champions League) 13 times. He was married to Zinaida Turchina (link), a handball legend in her own right, as she was one of the most successful players in the history of women’s handball.

Photo credit: SPUTNIK / Alamy Stock Photo

about me
My name is Moshe Herman, from Israel. My handball career stretches back to 1972 when I started as national referee, later becoming an IHF referee until 1992. In 1993 I became an EHF delegate through until 2012. From 1996 to 2004 I also served as a member of the EHF Court of Arbitration before being elected to the role of Vice President of the EHF Court of Handball (2004 -2012).