Article: Three decades from the participation of Zrenjanin in JSF

On September 19 there are just three decades from the participation of Zrenjanin in the final of the JSF, one of the most popular programs of Eurovision. In the French city of Bordeaux, on 19 September 1979 Zrenjanin won the second place, taking the silver prize. The interest in the former Yugoslavia to participate in JSF were too big. The turnout was something more important than the games themselves. The team consisted of major players of the city prepared for a long time with great enthusiasm. A team led by Vojislav Tabački, former wrestler, now Minister of Sport and youth in Serbia, the team has handball players, swimmers, athletes in judo, basketball. Vesna Stojanović, Ljiljana Dejanović, Snežana Knežević, Vesna Konstantinov, Ljubica Žarković, Verica Đurić, Iboja Šereš, Lidija Pakai, Đerđ Štefković, Mirko Vasiljević, Nenad Šukić, Darko Nišavić, Đuro Lukić, Stevan Tot, Borislav Cvejić, Branko Maljković, Branislav Lalić , Mile Dragić, Branislav Kostić Milan Delić prepared under the guidance of coach swimming, Milošem Popovim.

The games were fun and competitive, with beautiful costumes and enthusiastic atmosphere that targeted a TV audience of millions across Europe. The first broadcast on 13 June 1979 the Zrenjanin city struggled to St Gaudens in France, with the teams, Beringen (Belgium), Mering (Germany), Henley-on-Thames (UK), Aosta (Italy), Aveiro (Portugal ), Romont (Switzerland) and Saint Gaudens (France). The great interest shown in Zrenjanin by the fact, quite humorous now, that all the shops in town sold out their color televisions! It was time to begin broadcasting in color, something new for the season. Needless to mention that on the day of transmission, the city almost deserted! The whole city was in front of the small screen.

The good preparation had as a result the win with 53 points, and qualification in the final despite the good results of thw other teams from Yugoslavia in 1979 (Tetovo, Donji Milanovac, Bar, Belgrade, Karlovac, Banja Ljuka and Nova Gorica).
In the final Zrenjanin struggled with the best teams of the year, Lierde (Belgium), Bar-Le-Duc (France), Bonn (Germany), Bury (UK), Chioggia (Italy), Braga (Portugal), Ascona ( Switzerland). The first place was won by France with 50 points, second was Zrenjanin with 43pts,and third with 40pts the team from Lierde.

In the eve of the feast of St. Zrenjaninac, after the first win was amazing. In Liberty Square gathered more than 5,000 people to celebrate with the winners and the team mascot, the famous Lala, which was used as a joker. The police secured the route to the center of the city where the festivities lasted until morning. In France now, our team members attended the Hall of St. Gaudens presence of the President, recently deceased, Ljubomir Gećinom. Several ceremonies were held in other locations. At the end followed by the grand parade through the streets of the city that hosted the JSF.

JSF held from 1965 until 1999, with a short break in the period 1983-1987. Yugoslavia participated from 1978 to 1982 and again in 1990 when they hosted the event in Vrnjacka Banja. Yugoslavia was the only socialist country that took place from the eastern part, which proves the open horizons to the world and high economic standards that would allow the organization of this contest.

The prize was captured 30 years agoand now is in a special hall of the Museum of Sport. So we can say that in the right place. For all the boys and girls, our victory is revealed not only athletic performance and prepare them, but that this participation in the JSF embraced by the entire city just as a sport.

Finally, we should mention the famous judge, Guido Pancaldi and Gennaro Olivieri, from Switzerland with their whistles, ran the games for two decades. The Gennaro Olivieri died in 2009 at age 87 years, while o Guido Pancaldi is now permanently in Switzerland.