INTERSPORT ETTC celebrated the spirit of Andrzej GRUBBA

Tuesday, 18 Oct 23:00 2011

18/10/2011 – Andrzej GRUBBA, a man who delighted the crowds wherever he played, died in Sopot in Poland on 21st July 2005. He was forty-seven years old. Six years later under the great picture of his image the elite of European table tennis played for the glory in his town at the first ever European Championships held in Poland.
The Old Continent is looking forward great future but we never forget the past. ETTU President Stefano BOSI accompanied by widow of Mr GRUBBA, Lucyna and his son Tomasz, Polish officials led by Polish Table Tennis Federation President Ryszard WEISBRODT, as well as honorary PTTF President Jerzy DACHOWSKI and Silesia Table Tennis Federation President Wojciech WALDOWSKI, paid tribute to great champion by visiting square that has been named after him and placed flowers on Andrzej GRUBBA’s grave during the INTERSPORT European Championships..

“I knew there is a square entitled by GRUBBA and it was my special wish to come here and to give him my deep respect. Especially in Poland, Andrzej is in every table tennis hall. His spirit was with us during the Championships. I know he would be happy to be here, to help organize the events. I know he would be happy to see his hometown host the Championships,” said President BOSI.

President BOSI reminded that he had honor to play with Polish champion during active career. “I had personal friendship with Andrzej and we were playing against each other several times. In addition we had a lot of fights during that matches and that part of my life I will never forget. Keeping the memory of top player and memory of person who give a lot to our sport is very important.”

Fantastic career

Andrzej GRUBBA was born on 14th May 1958 in Zelgoscz near Gdansk. Parents and teachers encouraged Andrzej to play sport but not being the physically strongest in stature, the contact sports of football and handball were not for him; so at the age of eleven in 1969 he tried table tennis. He started to play at school and then joined the Neptun Club where his father and elder brother Jerzy encouraged him.

Under the guidance of Magdalena KUCHARSKI-SKURATOWICZ he made rapid progress and with Leszek KUCHARSKI eventually played successfully for the Gdansk Students Club. He made his debut for Poland in the European League in 1976 against Austria and coached by Dr Adam GIERSZ, a man GRUBBA acknowledged to be the greatest influence on his career, progressed to become one of the modern era’s most exciting players.
Andrzej GRUBBA won three bronze medals at World Championships: Men’s Team (1985), Men’ Doubles (1987), Men’s Singles (1989); he won the World Cup in 1988, five titles on the ITTF World All Stars Circuit and the Europe Top Twelve in 1985.

The one title which his supporters dearly wanted him to win was the Men’s Singles crown at the European Championships but it always proved elusive. The only gold medal to come his way at the continental tournament was the Mixed Doubles title in 1982 with Bettine VRIESEKOOP; in the Men’s Singles he came close, being the runner up in 1984 and 1990 whilst in 1986 and 1992 he lost at the semi-final stage. He was voted `Sportsman of the Year’ in Poland in 1984, reached the top of the rankings in Europe in 1985 and the World No.3 in both 1988 and 1992.

Lucyna GRUBBA runs Found for talented players

Lucyna GRUBBA, widow of late Polish table tennis champion Andrzej GRUBBA and his son Tomasz visited the great Ergo Arena during the INTERSPORT European Championships in Gdansk/Sopot. Before she visited the competition hall, Mrs GRUBBA accompanied ETTU President Stefano BOSI, who wanted to paid tribute to great champion by visiting square that has been named after Andrzej GRUBBA. “I was touched by the wish of ETTU President and Polish Table Tennis Association representatives, who wanted to commemorate the life of Andrzej,”hasere ilaclamaSeoSeo Firmalaribocek ilaclama fiyatlari fare ilaclama tanker suistanbul ilaclamaicme suyu said Lucyna GRUBBA with the help in translation coming from 27 years old son Tomasz GRUBBA.
Visiting Ergo Arena has overwhelmed feelings to Lucyna GRUBBA.

“I saw a many familiar faces and people that I used to meet when my husband was alive and had active career during 27 years of our marriage. I saw all these people and I just expect to see him here,” said Lucyna GRUBBA.
Familly GRUBA keep the memory of Andrzej GRUBBA alive by having a found for talented table tennis players. “Mother runs a table tennis Foundation with the name of my father which organizes tournaments for the children in elementary schools. The qualifications for the final tournament are organized throughout whole Poland and the final part is here in Sopot. Each year between 1200 and 1400 children plays at the 15 tournaments before they reach ultimate stage.” explained Tomasz GRUBBA.

Lucyna GRUBBA shared with us her memory of late husband the way she remembers him. “I have different memory of Andrzej then the people who knew him from the sport. For me he was always loving husband and caring father to our boys. He was the man to whom you can rely on and like in sports he always took the responsibility on his shoulders.”

Tomasz GRUBBA followed father’s footsteps, but shoulder injury prevented him from playing at the high level. “My younger brother Maciej who is 21 also played table tennis when we lived in Germany, but when we returned to Poland he started to play football.”

Story of great tragedy

Polish Table Tennis Federation President Ryszard WEISBRODT remembered when he first time saw GRUBBA. “He was 12 year sold and came to the training center. He was with his father and coming from the small town he looked confused,” said President Ryszard WEISBRODT. “Andrzej was in training camp with Leszek KUCHARSKI. After only three weeks of work he progressed tremendously. GRUBBA’s physical predispositions and coordination skills put him way in front of others. He was much better then the other players. Andrzey ran faster, jumped higher, and threw the ball further. In addition he was very motivated to progress and to learn.”

President Ryszard WEISBRODT regrets that he could not see GRUBBA winning World Championships in Dortmund. “He played against Jan Owe WALDNER and he won the first game, before he lost the match. I had to wait next ten years for the answer why did he change his tactics when he was winning? And then he told me that first game was all about little points, and that he wanted to beat WALDNER in big game. He wanted to do it in big style, and they really played fantastic match, but he lost it.”

GRUBBA used a lot of energy to prepare for every tournament. “Sometimes he used too much energy for the preparation and that cost him latter. “ President Ryszard WEISBRODT said at the end: “The story of Andrzej GRUBBA is the story of great win, but also a story of great tragedy. I am so sorry that he is not with us to se this tournament.”

(by Milica NIKOLIC, EWT)

Photo: on top, Polish delegation together with ETTU President Stefano BOSI and GRUBBA family on the squadre dedicated to Andrzej GRUBBA; in the middle, an old photo of Andrzej GRUBBA with a young Timo BOLL; below, Lucyna GRUBBA, widow of Polish table tennis champion (Photo Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)