56 years ago in Dortmund

56 years ago in Dortmund

On his newly-published memoirs, former Turkish international Aşkın Tuna narrates his experience at the first-ever European Indoor Games in Dortmund's Westfallenhalle.

Although European Athletics Indoor Championships been officially inaugurated in 1970, some trial events organized before under the name of European Indoor Games. Aşkın Tuna, former Turkish record holder in triple jump, was one of the contestants in first European Indoor Games at Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle in March 1966, and he remembered vividly what’s around.

Former Turkish Athletics Federation President and two-time Olympian Aşkın Tuna, 82, has recently published his memoirs ‘Üç adım’ (Triple jump) in Turkish. As one of the prominent names of Turkish athletics in the sixties, Tuna summarised very well what was like Euro Indoors then.

Aşkın Tuna travelled to Dortmund along with then President of Turkish Athletics Federation Naili Moran and hurdler Çetin Şahiner, just ten days after their long-lasting Lahore Meet in Pakistan. He rightly pointed of extreme weather shift where they landed the city of Dortmund in a snowy winter day.

We put a translation below just a short excerpt from Tuna's book, about how was the atmosphere in Dortmund at the European Indoors in mid-sixtees.

***

“We arrived to Dortmund after three hours drive from Düsseldorf. The sky was almost darkened when we get the hotel. Later, me and Çetin Şahiner (hurdler) leave from hotel to go training session. Previously heard about the competition hall – it was 10,000 spectators capacity. Europe’s top athletes should be there, such as Romania’s high jump star Iolanda Balaş, Soviet sisters Irina and Tamar Press and some others…

Track and jumping areas have been faced by wooden material. We surprised a bit cause didn’t know about how we performed and which shoes should be used there. Both of us have brought shoes that we used in outdoor track, were looking impossible to perform with them on this surface because of grinders longer than one centimeter!

(…)

Then President Naili Moran summoned and directed us to famous shoe-maker Adidas’ Office. Once we’ve got the office, saw huge crowd inside! Nearly every registered athletes are trying to new spikes before the competition, so we’ve got new ones quickly, too. I checked up under the spike and saw just five points there with just two-milimetres. That’s it! That’s the spikes which we can have jump easily on wood. I also put inside heel sponge to feel easy. Perfectly fits.

(…)

Triple jump competition was in the first day. The athletics hall was full with the spectators. TV cameras set up in everywhere to making interviews and some pre-event recordings… I gestured directly to cameras when it faced up to me.

The competition time was getting closer, I’ve been more excited, even I couldn’t breath properly due to the pressure. In that moment, saw Mr. President on the stand, then he came in trackside for talk to me:

- Why you’re so excited?
- No, I’m not.
Son, we just came here for fun. Making good competition and fun, that’s it. We’re meeting some people here, seeing new cultures. We’ll compete, then back to the home. The results are not so important.

Gosh! The results wasn’t essential. So, Mr. President easily saying that, I must have fun, then. I can jump freely. Remember how I just felt so relaxed after President Moran’s speech.

An article from Hurriyet Newspaper dated back in April 1st, 1966: “Aşkın Tuna broke new Turkish record in triple jump. He jumped 15.34m in European Indoor Games in Dortmund and finished eight in triple jump contest.”


- Summarized & translated from: Üç adım, Aşkın Tuna, Spor Yayınevi ve Kitabevi (2022), pages 168-171.
- Photo in left: President Naili Moran and Aşkın Tuna during Dortmund journey from Düsseldorf. 


Triple jump - Official result
Dortmund, 27.03.1966
1. Serban Ciochina (Romania) 16.43
2. Michael Sauer (Federal Republic of Germany) 16.35
3. Petr Nemsovsky (Czechoslovakia) 16.28
4. Giuseppe Gentile (Italy) 16.25
5. Hans-Jürgen Rückborn (Democratic Republic of Germany) 15.96
6. Henrik Kalocsai (Hungary) 15.84
Qualifying:
7. Martin Jensen (Norway) 15.43
8. Aşkın Tuna (Turkey) 15.34