The “man-orchestra” was the true embodiment of the famous spirit of SCIJ

Emil Antonov in 1975 – The Founder of the Bulgarian SCIJ

For the 40th time in a row the Bulgarian SCIJ team will award one of the participants in our Pamporovo-2018  Annual meeting with the Emil Antonov Cup.

But why is this traditional trophy always so highly appreciated by all colleagues? Why does every single SCIJ member dream to hold it high in his hands? It is because the award is a recognition for the one who has contributed in the years mostly to the famous spirit of SCIJ.

The late Emil Antonov was really an embodiment of that SCIJ spirit. He himself joined the SCIJ family during its 9th Annual Meeting in Canada’s Banff in 1963 and applied right away for Bulgaria’s membership of SCIJ. The application was unanimously accepted by the General Assembly. Two years later a Bulgarian team (5 men and one woman) made a debut in Tatranska Lomnice, Czechoslovakia in 1965.

Founder and first president of the Bulgarian SCIJ Club (BSCJ), Emil Antonov was a highly professional journalist and spoke four languages. I am privileged to have known Emil since my very first years in journalism. Very few of the present SCIJ members have known and met Emil Antonov in person: “the flying Dutchman”  Koos Bloemsma for sure, Montserrat (Montsa) Campagna of Spain and Bulgaria’s Assen Minchev, but both are not so active in our club now. In the early 70s, as an University student still, I was contributing to the Bulgarian sports newspaper, Naroden sport, writing about tennis. Emil Antonov was foreign sports editor there, but in charge also of tennis and skiing. So he became one of my mentors in journalism. I will never forget his advice to write in clear and not complicated phrases, so that my writings (he said) could be understood “in a metropolis like Chicago as well as in a small provincial town like Chepelare” (we shall go skiing there too because it is very close to our main venue Pamporovo).

During the SCIJ meetings Emil Antonov would take the microphone and comment the giant slalom races in a funny way with his unique sense of humour, then being a very smart guy and experienced journalist would moderate the very heated then discussions at a round table. And in the evenings he would be again in the centre of the events, talking, singing and dancing till late at night. That is why he was  called “the man-orchestra”.

Emil Antonov died in 1976 at the age of only 51 years. The “fathers of SCIJ” Gilles de la Rocque and Marcel Pache wrote in SCIJ News bulletin a deeply moving In Memoriam, entitled Emile Antonov n’est plus (Emil Antonov Is No More Here). They pointed out that “the man-orchestra” had always been at the top of the friendship-ranking” in the big SCIJ family.

This In Memoriam gave cause the Bulgarian SCIJ team to suggest and to inaugurate the Emil Antonov Cup, awarded ever since 1979 to the colleague, who has mostly contributed  with his/her performance and behavior to the friendly atmosphere during the meeting in the spirit of SCIJ, as intended by Gilles de la Rocque. The first Emil Antonov Cup’s holder in 1979 was the always joyful and very sociable Ms. Ziva Paulin of Slovenia. In 2017 the precious award went to the charming Canadian Andree Ducharme who is always ready to help with her perfect English-French translation at SCIJ GAs and round tables. But who will hold Emil Antonov Cup in hands on March 3rd, 2018 in Pamporovo? That is the question….

Borislav (Bobby) KOSTOURKOV

Emil Antonov in 1968