History of Rugby in Khmelnytsky

Микола Іванович Лещенко
The first rugby player and honorary president of the Rugby Federation of Khmelnitsky oblast
Mykola Leshchenko

The beginning of the origin of rugby in Khmelnytsky is considered to be September 1983. At that time was created an amateur rugby team on the initiative of Mykola Ivanovich Leshchenko, a young engineer at the TEMP plant, and it involved employees of the TEMP plant. The name was given to the team in honor of the plant, and the stadium of the school №11 (now Gymnasium № 2) was chosen as the training place.

 

The first friendly match of the TEMP team with the Lviv Polytechnic took place on April 6, 1984 at the Electromechanical Technical College Stadium. The team won that first game with a score of 6:0, thanks to the attempts of Slava Bolshakov. It was that victory that counts the beginning of the history of rugby in the city of Khmelnitsky.

 

Achievements of the Rugby Team “TEMP”

1987 – silver winners of the Ukrainian Rugby Championship among amateur teams, participation in the USSR Rugby Union Cup (victory over the team MAI (Moscow, 15:9 at home meeting).

1986 – the rugby section began to work with the community “Zenit”; later a section of rugby “Petrel”  was opened in the Youth Sports School № 1, of the FSC “Ukraine”. And the first youth team of boys 1971-72 years of birth played on an equal footing with well-known rugby schools of Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk.

1991-1997 – Ukrainian champions in the First League, prize-winners of Ukrainian championship among young men and juniors. Lads of 1975-76 years of birth won the bronze prizes of Ukrainian Championship for the first time. Then the youth team of boys, born in 1977-78, won silver awards, having defeated the famous rugby school “Aviator”. Then it was time to win for the youth team of young men born in 1980-81. In 1994, the team became the champions of Ukraine, and also showed excellent Khmelnytsky style rugby on international tournaments in Lithuania and Romania.

1994 was the year of the birth of a modern rugby team – the winning team.

 

Since then, the main slogan of the team is the statement “The school of rugby is a school of life”.

1996 – 2nd place in competitions in Denmark, Aalborg, to the 100th anniversary of the Olympic Movement,

– 2nd place in the international memory tournament in Kyiv

– 1st place in the Championship of Ukraine among boys born in 1980-81

1997 – 1st place in the Warsaw Cup in Poland.

 

 

Our Victories

Since 1997 the team under the name “University” began to play in the First League of the Ukrainian Championship. In 2000-2001, they played in the High League, and from 2002 to 2014 they advanced to the Super League. The highest achievement is the bronze medals for the 2004 and 2013 seasons, the entry into the Cup of Ukraine semi-finals in 2005 and 2008.

Since 2006, Super League is a professional league with foreign players. The Khmelnytsky team remains the only amateur club among the professional clubs of Odessa, Kiev, and Kharkiv. At the same time, the second team has been in the First League of the championship of Ukraine, where during these years they became the winners twice.

From 2005 to 2010, the Khmelnitsky Rugby-7 team, “Obolon-University” became an indispensable participant in major international competitions in Moscow, Krasnodar, Kiev, and Sopot, where a high level of the team’s performance was acknowledged.

In 2008-2010, the team became the first representative of Ukraine in the European Rugby-7 Championship Cup, where the highest achievement was the 7th place in Europe.

In 2013, Khmelnytskyi rugby players became the holders of the Ukrainian Rugby-7 Cup and the bronze medalists of the Ukrainian Rugby-15 Championship.

In 2014, Khmelnytsky rugby was awarded with bronze medals from Rugby-7 in the Ukrainian Championship and the Cup. In the same year, Khmelnitsky rugby players gained gold medals at the Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship (up to 21 year-olds), which took place in Khmelnytskyi.

2015 became the most successful year for Khmelnytsky rugby. Rugby Club “Khmelnytskyi” returned the bronze medals of the Ukrainian Rugby-15 Championship, won the bronze medals of the Rugby-7 championship of Ukraine and silver medals of the Rugby-7 Cup of Ukraine. Also in 2015, the Khmelnytsky team became first in the Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship (Higher League). Players of the Khmelnytskyi Rugby School, Roman Gutzalyuk, Valeryi Mil, Oleksiy Bilyk, became European champions of rugby-15, in competition which took place in France.

In the Championship of Ukraine (Superleague) Rugby-7, RC “Khmelnitsky-University” became a bronze medalist, in the Ukrainian Rugby-7 silver medal winner’s Cup, Ukrainian Rugby-7 champions (in the High League) and bronze medalists at the Ukrainian Rugby-15 Championship.

Then the rewards for the Khmelnytsky teams were already pouring as if from the cornucopia.

2016:

Rugby-7 Cup of Ukraine – silver medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship Super League – silver medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship Higher League – gold medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-15 Championship – bronze medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship The Highest Women’s League – silver medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-7 Youth Championship 1998-99 – bronze medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-15 Championship among children 2005-2006. – gold medals.

2017:

Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship Super League – silver medals;

Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship Higher League – silver medals.

Victory in the “Katran Sevens 2017” – tournament in Odessa

 

Rugby-15

In 2004, the Rugby-15 Khmelnytsky “Obolon-University” was able to make a real breakthrough for that time and win the first prize place during the independence of Ukraine – bronze.

Further years in the history of Khmelnytsky rugby-15 can not be called easy. Our rugby players were in a step from prize-winning places, but they did not succeed in gaining their dream rewards.

In 2011-2012, the team was replenished by young rugby players, and the coaching staff was updated. Young coaches Oleksandr Volodymyrovych Migunov and Oleg Mikhailovich Kwasnitsya eventually managed to win the third place in the Ukrainian Championship after a long break. It happened in 2013.

 

Rugby-7

The history of rugby-7 is richer in prize-winning. Khmelnytskyi rugby players gained 3 golds and 2 silvers for the period of 2006-2010. Since 2011 the team regularly receives bronze medals of the championship.

In addition, the Khmelnytskyi players are also the twice winners of the Rugby-7 Cup of Ukraine, and in 2014 they won bronze medals. In 2013 and 2014, Khmelnytsky won the Rugby-7 Cup of Kamyanets-Podilsky.

Since 1997 The team “Obolon-University” has been acting in the Ukrainian Rugby-7 Championship.

In the Men’s Rugby-7 Championship in 2002-2004 and 2011-2014 the team became the bronze medalist, in 2008 and 2010 – the silver winner, and in 2005-2007 and 2009 the team “University-Obolon” became the champion of Ukraine.

 

Speaking of the championship of Ukraine among youth teams under the age of 21, Khmelnytsky was always in prize-winners:

 

5 times – gold, 4 times – silver and 5 times – bronze medals.

 

In Rugby-7 Universiades, the team won the following results:

1 place in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011;

2nd place in  2003, 2013;

3rd place in 2001.

 

Let us remind you that from 2016 Rugby-7 has been the Olympic sport.

 

Khmelnytsky in the Ukrainian National Teams

Since 1997, Khmelnytsky players have become parts of junior teams for the World Championship: 1997 – Lernik V., 1998 – Pekarkyi Yu., Khmara V., 1999 – Kozhushko D., Morgun P. and coach Leshenko M. I.

By the way, at the World Championship in Wales in 1999. Ukraine’s team reached its highest level – 5th place in group B (21st place in the World).

In 2003, the Ukraine’s team played at the World Championship in France, and Khmelnytskyi players Leshchenko A. and Kachanovetskyi V. were the part of that team. After the reform of the competitions, the Ukrainian team plays only in the European Championship, where the highest achievement was in 2008 in Germany, where the team 1987 year of birth became 7th in group A. The team was mostly represented by namely Khmelnytskyi players: Zozulya N., Valus O., Ryabovol K., Kozlov V., Leshchenko O.

Furtherafter, the Ukrainian team constantly plays in the European Youth Championships in Group B, where it regularly holds the 3rd place, the most representatives of Khmelnytskyi were in the national teams of the years 1992 and 1993.

Since 2004, our players have indispensably played in the Rugby-15 national team of Ukraine. Two players – Kwasnicya O. and Bubela S. played in the starting lineup of the national team that played in group A of the European Championship.

In 2006, Khmelnytsky Rugby Club became the base of the Rugby-7 national team of Ukraine, giving the team eight players: Kvasnytsya O., Migunov O., Dyiziak O., Leshchenko A., Leshchenko O., Kachanovetsky V., Krushinsky V., Morgun P., who played for the national team in qualifying rounds in Poland and Georgia, won the place for Ukraine in the finals of the European Rugby-7 Championship, where there were four players from Khmelnytsky out of 10.

In 2008 at the European Championship in Germany, Oleg Kvasnytsia became the best player of the competition. Subsequently, after winning the First European Sports Games, he became the first international rugby class master in Khmelnytsky.

 

30 Years of Khmelnytsky Rugby

2014 became a jubilee year for Khmelnytsky rugby – it was 30 years since the first official game. The solemn celebration took place on the stadium “Podillya”. Children and youth tournaments were held, and the real top event was a match of generations – the acting team of RC ”Khmelnytsky” met on the pitch with veterans of Khmelnytskyi RC “TEMP”.

The year 2014 was rich in events. Then a Rugby-7 women’s team was launched and coached by Vasyl Lazorenko in Khmelnytsky. Since the time when on the base of the Rugby Federation of Khmelnytskyi a section of women’s rugby was opened, it already has its own national team players. Anastasia Kushnir became the first girl to be the part of the youth team of Ukraine under the age of 18.

Khmelnytsky Women’s Rugby Team “Academy 7’s” and its coach Vasyl Lazorenko (on the right)

 

President of the Federation
of Khmelnytsky oblast
Oleg Plakhotnyuk

Also, in 2014, the executive board of the Khmelnytsky Oblast Rugby Federation was renewed. In the place of Mykola Ivanovych Leshchenko came a young and energetic Oleg Ivanovych Plakhotnyuk.

 

Thanks to the fruitful work of the Rugby Federation of Khmelnytsky oblast and its president, Oleg Plakhotnyuk, Khmelnytsky was able to host two European events. The first tournament was the International Rugby-7 “Cup People’s Friendship”, where teams from Ukraine, Poland and Belarus participated. In this tournament, the newly formed Khmelnytskyi team “Evolution7s” celebrated the victory.

 

The second major event was the European Rugby-15 Championship match between the national teams of Ukraine and Poland. The central stadium “Podillya” was full – up to four thousand people came to support the national team of Ukraine. Such a complete sale of rugby games in Khmelnytsky has become a record.