ХII World Championship
7 — 15 February 1981
USSR
Khabarovsk, Lenina Stadium

The International bandy federation wasn’t confused with the geographic distance of the city on the Amur River from the Northern Europe when they took the decision about the location of the Championship as the executives knew about the special love for bandy on the Russian Far-East.

In 1976 in Khabarovsk there was an international tournament for the price of the newspaper “The Soviet Russia” and everyone was very impressed with the organization and the great interest from the supporters. 

Naturally, the championship was regarded in non-official capital with even more responsibility. Khabarovsk organizers tried to consider every small thing for the championship organization.  Especially for the bandy players training the ‘Neftianik’ Stadium and the ‘Dinamo’ Stadium were reconstructed. But the most significal changes were done to the main Arena of the Stadium named by Lenin where the matches of world competition were held. The new building was build near the South tribune. Inside the building there were large changing rooms for the players, recreational programs area, and referee’s rooms, administrators’ rooms and a press-centre. On this trubune the powerful information display was set.

The organizers took care of the championship environment. Souvenirs and badges with symbols of the XXII World Championship were on sale in the shops and hotels those days. The special exposition about the international sportsmen relationships and the history of sport in Amur River region was organized in the Local history museum. Also the special bookfair was organized in the Regional Scientific Library where the readers could get some literature about bandy. 

The three players from Khabarovsk SKA were in the USSR National team. Sergei Lazarev and Aleksandr Pershin, the the long term players were joined by Nikolai Pazdnikov.

Unfortunatelly in Khabarovsk the USSR National team could not win the championship for the first time in the history. The devastating defeat in the beginning of the tournament was from the Swedish team: 1-6. Khokan Sundin, the head coach of the Swedish national team even took risk and did not approve Torbern Ek, the long term head of Swedish team, the participant of the 6 previous world championships to play at the Khabarovsk championship. Sundin explained his decision with Ek’s speed quality loss. Such decision showed that the Swedish team was ready to compete with permanent world champions.  Khokan Sundin did not hide the intension to come to Khabarovsk not to go for silver medal.

Arter the dramatic victory of the Swedish national team there was a little hope for the host team that the Swedish would lose some points in the game with the national team of Suomi. But Finland did not meet expectations. The Soviet team needed a miracle of the epic win over the leader in the second cycle. The national team of the USSR saved the face and won the game with the new world champion with the score 3:1 but with the same score due to tiebreaker the National Swedish team became the winner.

The professional community even the national one considered their success in Khabarovsk as expected. Ivan Baldin, the honored coach of the USSR who brought the national team for the victiries twice (in 1961 and 1963) and was a part of bandy development in Khabarovsk region remembered his words in the 60s: ‘as soon as the Scandinavian players catch the physical training there will be very difficult to compete with them. And it was full on display. To their previous perfections as a strong play in defence, managing the ball in the air, high technique they added the ‘Russian skills’ as speed, great physical condition and team spirit.

Almost the same words belong to Vladimir Ianko, the honored master of sports. He admitted that the Swedish studied the Soviet team route and could find the proper response. In Khabarovsk they seemed to be as strong as ever. The players tried to cover the middle of the field very fast due to precise serves and the skill of playing in the air made the most of attacks to the real challenge for the opponents.

Vladimir Vladimirovich said that bandy technique is formed in the early childhood and the Swedish have an advantage here due to many indoor grounds for bandy where the young players develop their skills inspite of the weather. 

When one of the newsreader commented on the Swedish leadership in the facilities and resources he was given a note from the head of the TV channel with request to stop to praise the competitors as in our country bandy was played well.  

People said that then-head of the Khabarovsk region even aired discontent to his workers that they did not manage to minimize the official ceremony of the Championship closing in Khabarovsk and led 30-thousand people crowd welcomed the representatives of the ‘bourgeois world’. But Khabarovsk supporters who feel at home with bandy warmly welcomed the new world champions who thanked the spectators with exotic “fish” for that time – a kind of riding on the belly with lifted up arms after the team run.

By the way, Pontus Viden, the president of International Bandy Federation (IBF) especially admitted the welcoming atmosphere at his interview to the regional newspaper ‘Tikhookeanskaia zvezda’: “The championship in 1974 in Moscow was also organized at a very high level, but there were no such supporters who knew and fell all the ins and outs in our sport. I am afraid that in Scandinavia there would be few supporters on the all the matches after the USSR – Swedish game, but here you have almost the full stadium on each game and twice of the people on the leaders’ match.

Accorfing to the words of the IBF president, the Khabarovsk championship was orginized perfectly so he and his colleagues from Federation would remember the great stadium, true-hearted supporters and the game of the best players in the world with great pleasure.

The participants of the championship were pleased with the organization of the XXII World Championship. Here are some comments of the days in February 1981 in Khabarovsk.

Seren Bustrem, the player of the Swedish national team: “I have been to Khabarovsk for the third time and I can’t stop to admire the city. In 1976 (on the tournament for the price of “Soviet Russia” newspaper) you had great organization and in 1978 (the club matches) the organization was even better and in 1981 it is perfect. I like the emotional supporters who understand all the details of the game and respect all the competitors”.

Preben Chelsrud, the player of the Norway national team: 'The championship in Khabarovsk was beautifully organized. We did n’t have any problems wherever we were: in the hotel, at the stadium or in the city. We were welcomed warmly with Russian hospitality. I have never thought that it would be such a pleasant atmosphere here, such a long way from home. Unfortunatelly, we couldn’t enjoy the interesting game but the other teams played well and the championship succeded.’

The Finnish arbitor Gunnar Khelgren: ‘in Khabarovsk people really love bandy. It is clear from the proper championship organization. The perfect conditions for referees and for players were provided. I am totally in love with your city.  And you have such beautiful sports centers here. There is attention to the sport development’.

Even the international journalists declared love to the vity on the Amur River and thanked the organizers. Kurt Almgren, the special correspondent of the Swedish newpaper “Dagens Niukheter” noticed that the championship was the 11th of the world championsips and he had something to compare with. And to his mind the championship in Khabarovsk was the best.

Voitto Sulander, the corresponder of the big Finnish newspaper “Khelsingin sanomat” came to Khabarovsk for the second time and this time he liked the city even more. He wished he had seen the city in the summertime as there were lots of flowers and green trees. He also shared impressions of his wife, who came to the championship with him. She is in complete awe of the city and of the championship organization and hospitality of the citizens.

Team of USSR: goalkeepers  – S. Lazarev (SKA, Khabarovsk),A. Gospodchikov(«Volga»); defenders– A. Rychagov(«Start»), V. Shakalin, V. Savluk; mid-fields– U. Lakhonin(all  «Enisei»), V. Plavunov, («Dinamo», Moscow), L. Lobachev(«Zorkii»), A. Pershin(SKA, Khabarovsk), E. Velikanov; forwards – V. Korytin(both «Dinamo», Alma-Ata), V. Bochkov(«Zorkii»), V. Eikhvald, A Tsyganov(both SKA, Sverdlovsk), S. Lomanov, V. Anufrienko(both  «Enisei»), N. Pazdnikov(SKA, Khabarovsk).

1

2

3

4

В-Н-П

О

Р/м

1

Sweden

6:1

3:0

8:0

5-0-1

10

35:7

2

USSR

3:1

8:0

14:0

5-0-1

10

38:8

3

Finland

2:5

1:5

6:1

2-0-4

4

14:23

4

Norway

1:12

0:7

1:5

0-0-6

0

3:52

Best shooter: S. Lomanov (USSR) — 13 balls.

Best players: goalkeeper — P. Voge (Norway), defender – M. Karlsson, mid-field — Kh. Karlsson (both – Sweden), forward — S. Lomanov (USSR).