Gerhard Peya, President of the Austrian Weightlifting Federation

Gerhard Peya, President of the Austrian Weightlifting Federation, has a lot of valuable sports resources, including results that will be published soon for a book about the Danube Cup history, including all of the results from 1961 to 1996, medal tables, statistics, and personal stories, particularly about Imre Földi.

The first discussions about establishing a Danube Cup took place at meetings of the Danube countries’ presidents at World and European championships. The strategy and more comprehensive preparation took place in a Viennese cafe in 1960. Proponents included ÖGV President August Wunderer, Secretary Gottfried Schödl, and Czech Bedrich Poula, President of the Czechoslovak Association, who came from Linz. Their plan was to use the Danube as a link between nations and to develop and promote weightlifting in Europe.

Later, we could observe how this concept aided the growth of European Olympic weightlifting as well as intercultural understanding.

The consortium included seven Danube countries: the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They settled on seven rounds for a single tournament and committed to each tournament each round. It began with seven Olympic weight classes. Two new categories, 52kg, and 110kg, were introduced in 1975. Since 1978, the 100 kg category has been expanded, in total ten Olympic categories. This mode was in effect until 1993. The medals and placings were determined by a three-fight performance, which was reduced to two fights in 1973. There was a points mode for the country ranking, with points awarded from first to seventh place, dropping 7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Until the 1980s, this mode functioned successfully.

The inaugural event was held in Munich in 1961, and the last in Frankfurt/Oder in 1997. Many weightlifters qualified for the Olympics at this tournament, and some of them went on to become Olympic champions or set new world and European records. Four passes totaling 28 years were completed. However, the top athletes’ initial enthusiasm appeared to be diminishing. Appointments and organizational structures had to be revised. The ship “Danube Cup” sank. Sometimes only one nation, then several, did not participate. The fifth running lasted only 5 rounds, from 1989 to 1993.  

Reform was in the spotlight.

In 1994, there was a hopeful reboot with a new model discussed in Vienna. Each nation is allowed one youth, one junior, and one general class or senior, with two women and six men, it was called International Rules. It was ranked based on Sinclair’s points. Unfortunately, there was no host a year later. They last met in Szekszard, Hungary, in 1996. In the end, just three nations were present: Hungary, Germany, and Austria. 

The Danube Cup ship had gone down.

A junior competition was established in 1968. The competition, which began in Budapest in 1968 and ended in Schifferstadt in the Pfalz area in 1993, ran in the same manner as the general class.

The first Youth Danube Cup (-18 years) was held in 1990 at Sokolov, Czechoslovakia.



Seven nations were present on the Danube in 1961, the year the Danube Cup was established. The Danube-bordering nations of Croatia, Serbia, Moldova, and Ukraine have been sovereign independent states since 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

Breg and Brigach are the headwater streams of the Danube River, which is formed by their confluence in Donaueschingen, a major town in the Black Forest region of Baden Württemberg (Germany). Both streams originate close to the Main European Watershed between the River Rhine (to the northwest) and the River Danube (to the southeast). The Celtic origin of the name ‘Breg’ means ‘exalted, eminent’. The Breg is the longer tributary and contributes a higher discharge to the young Danube. The Breg Spring is the most distant point in the river system as measured from the mouth of the Danube at the Black Sea. ‘Brig’, Celtic for Brigach, means ‘bright and loud’, and ‘ach’ means water.

(Source: Schmidt, B., Janauer, G. A., Barta, V., & Schmidt-Mumm, U. (2018). Breg and Brigach, headstreams of the River Danube: biodiversity and historical comparison. Macrophytes of the River Danube Basin, 58-80)


Leave A Reply