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  News > 2005 Olympiad - Porto

A Report from the
2005 Olympiad - Porto

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo
  for larger version

The flame of
the 2005 Olympiad

The venue

Opening ceremony

The FCI presidents
at opening ceremony

The Portugese
national directors
at opening ceremony

The Olympiad logo

A bridge over
the Douro

At the waterfront

A beautiful shoreline

A lot of attention
for the Belgian birds

Here the German
birds were shown

Results are shown
on large posters

3rd place in
Standard Class

From January 19-23, 2005 the 29th Olympiad took place in Portugal. In 1985--more than 20 years ago--the Olympiad was also held there, and according to people who were also there in 1985 nothing (or very little) has changed.

Portugal is a country where the pigeon sport is very popular. The number of new members and youth members is going up. Fanciers told me that the pigeon sport in Portugal is 18,000 members strong, and, after soccer, is the second most popular sport in Portugal. This fact alone makes Portugal a fitting location in which to gather pigeons and pigeon fanciers from around the world for competition in several classes.

Porto is a very ancient city, its original name being "Portucale," which was later to give its name to the country. The city has also lent its name to the world-famous wine produced on the banks of the river Douro and aged in the wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, the city that stands across the river on the south bank. Porto is the capital of the north and the second largest city in the country. Its hard working inhabitants are noted for their commercial enterprise, always standing firm against outside impositions and foreign invaders, which explains why Porto has become known as the "unvanquished" city.

There is one particular episode that demonstrates the character of its inhabitants and which led their being known popularly as "tripeiros" (tripe eaters), a name that has been freely applied to anybody living in the city since the period of the Maritime Discoveries. In order to support the fleet that set out to conquer the city of Ceuta in 1415, the city's inhabitants offered them all their finest meat, being left with just the offal of the animals that had been slaughtered. They then learned to prepare this in a very special way, so that today one of the city's most traditional recipes is "tripas ŕ moda do Porto" (tripe cooked in the Porto style).

Being built on the slopes of the steep hills that overlook the river Douro, Porto has a truly unique appearance, and its historic center has been classified by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Those who want to get to know the city better can take a gentle stroll through its streets, taking time to admire the typical granite houses and monuments, enjoy a tram ride along the banks of the river, or even go for a boat ride under the city's five bridges, from where one can enjoy an entirely different view of the city. Clearly, Porto is a wonderful place for the world's pigeon fanciers to gather.


In the center of Porto, in an old customs-house ("Alfandega Nova," which was built in 1859) the Olympiad was held. On Friday, January 21st the Olympiad was officially opened. There were not many visitors because a lot of the Portuguese fanciers needed to work that day. This is an indication that the average age of the Portuguese fancier is much lower than in the other European countries.

The weather in Portugal was very good--blue skies and 17 degrees Centigrade--and therefore there were not so many people on Saturday morning at the show. The reason was that the first training races took place and every pigeon fancier was at his loft. Saturday afternoon, it was very crowded.

The typical participant's opinion was that as an event the Olympiad was good but not exceptionally good. The opening ceremony was a nice production, but in my opinion was not of a level that will make it memorable in a few years. The building where the Olympiad was held was a very nice building, an ideal venue for a happening like the Olympiad.



1. Vojtesek Ladislav - Tjechië 01-0251-148 (280.5 points)
2. Margarida and Romeu - Portugal 2229462/02 (280.5 points)
3. Kiraly Jozséf - Hongarije 25-6856 (280.25 points)

1. Jose Conceicao Santos - Portugal 2228301/02 (278.5 points)
2. Pripko B and B - Slowakije 02-2751/02 (278.5 points)
3. J. Carlos and F.V. Coelho - Portugal 2332722/02 (278.5 points)


One of the
standard birds

#1 in the Olympiad
Sport Class

3rd place in
the Sport Class

An exhibit of
pigeon art

One of the works
of pigeon art


promotional booth

Country classification
1. Portugal
2. Germany
3. Hongarije


Short distance:
1. Miroslav Michlik Slowakije 226618/98 9.2998
2. Karol Grabowski Polen 09090-02-4 16.1249
3. Ilheus Portugal 440070/00 16.5679

Middle Distance
1. Stanislav Kocis Slowakije 155127/01 5.5491
2. Marcin Bochynek Polen 0166-01-78 6.3266
3. A.W. Handerek Polen 034-00-602 7.1763

Long Distance
1. Gebr. Vd Heuvel Netherlands 02-1656210 23.838
2. J. Ganzeveld Netherlands 01-1026846 25.0454
3. Hubert Palenga Polen 048-01-136 28.217

All Round
1. J. Peller Hongarije 29-01944/02 10.2507
2. J. Konior-F. Zielinski Polen 030-99-755 11.1007
3. Nadas Pal Hongarije 01-25-2552/0 13.3357

Rumors circulated that the pigeon of Van De Heuvel Brothers from Gouderak was bought by Mike Ganus, for a price of 70,000 Euro


On Friday at 3 p.m. the F.C.I. congress took place. This congress is held every two years. Maybe it sounds crazy but the most spectacular thing happened before the meeting started. The officials of China and Taiwan started a heated argument over the fact that a little flag was standing on the wrong table! (Unbelievable but true!)

Before starting the meeting, one minute of silence was held for the victims of the Southeast Asia tsunami and the passing of Mr. De Paduwa (Belgium) and Mr. Uemure (Japan) who both died in 2004.

After the approval of the financial reports, a lot of things were discussed but never ended with a decision. Important things to note are the following:

(1) The first new decision was that one of a new category, namely the Marathon. In this category those birds can participate who have the best coefficient on four races in two years' time on races above 800 kilometres. The category Marathon will be observed for the first time at the next Olympiad in Belgium (Ostend) in 2007.

(2) The Olympiad in 2009 will be held in Dortmund (Germany). At that time the national German organization will observe its 125-year anniversary. Not everybody was happy with that decision because after locations in successive years in France, Portugal, Belgium and Germany, the Olympiads will have been held geographically close to each other. Some ask where is the intercontinental character of the Olympiad.

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Rik Hermans

Deng Fu Chuang
and Rik Hermans

New FCI president

FCI press conference


(3) With the support of Poland, Italy and Malta, new members Lithuania and Albania are admitted. With these, the number of countries reaches 58.

(4) With the election of the new officers, there was a lot of attention for the farewell of Carlos Marquez Pratz and Désire Nick. The new F.C.I. president is now Dr. José Manuel Azenta Tereso (Portugal). Along with Dr. Ryon, I had a short conversation with the new president. Dr. Tereso was very happy with the Olympiad. The number of visitors, all the ceremonies, etc., everything happened as he hoped and planned for. What will Dr. Tereso do as new president? He will try to support the youth and to try to increase the number of fanciers in Europe. In Portugal, the only country where the number of fanciers goes up, Dr. Tereso works a lot with schools, soccer clubs, etc.--all things which stimulate the youth to start racing pigeons.
All nice words, but will those things work in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany? Personally, I doubt it! But we wish you good luck, Dr. Tereso!

So, this ends our report about the Olympiad in Portugal. Next time, we will stay in our own country, namely Belgium. You can already mark January 2006 in your calendar.

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