NATIONAL SPORT ACADEMY<br />"VASSIL LEVSKI"

1942 - 1953

The Beginning (1942 –1944 )



The idea  . In the begging of the 1920s the idea of a new educational sports institution emerged in our society. The need for a new institution like that was obvious as the teachers at that time didn`t have a proper sports education and the whole educational process was primitive and ineffective.
The most active institution at the time was the Bulgarian gymnastics union "Iunak" (BGU Iunak). The union with the assistance of the Ministry of education made the settlement of the future acadamy reality. The architecture plan of the capital city destined a parcel for the building, but a social protest delayed the begging of the building process.
The background of the sports education in Bulgaria consists of the three following bases:


1. Courses for teachers conducted by the BGU "Iunak" from 1900. The idea was to educate gymnastics "specialists" who were to teach in the bulgarian schools ;
2. Educational courses for sports teachers as predecessors of the HSPE (High School of Physical Education) conducted in the years 1928, 1931, 1935 and 1944. The motivation to conduct such courses at the were that "the teachers

  1. 1. Courses for teachers conducted by the BGU "Iunak" from 1900. The idea was to educate gymnastics "specialists" who were to teach in the bulgarian schools ;
  2. 2. Educational courses for sports teachers as predecessors of the HSPE (High School of Physical Education) conducted in the years 1928, 1931, 1935 and 1944. The motivation to conduct such courses at the time were that the sports teachers were the only ones with no college or other higher education degree - a good argument for their inadequate practical and theoretical preparation as well as for the need to change the orthodoxal german and swiss school with a new modern method system ;
  3. 3. The third point of support of the movement for a new educational institution were bulgarians graduated abroad. Some of them were : Borislav Iordanov, Krum Katzarov, Georgi Karaivanov, Mladen Filipov, Ivan Panaiotov, Angel Panaiotov (Germany); Ana Petrova, Ekaterina Nojarova, Nadejda Oshanova, Kiril Petrov, Ivan Gutev, Parashkev Georgiev, Stefan Dobrev, Jeliazko Filipov, Neno Mirchev, Vasil Tzonkov, Kosta Ignatov, Tzeno Krachmarski, Ventzislav Angelov (Hungary) ; Dimitar Grigorov, Petko Shterev, Anna Beleva (Poland); Nikola Kalkandjiev, Sergei Jivkov, Dimitar Mihailov (Italy).

These peoples names are directly or indirectly associated with the historical event of the foundation of the National Higher School of Physical Education. They will always be remembered with their role as a corner in the foundation of the bulgarian sports education institutions and will serve as a model of progress.


In the beginning.  On 15th November 1942 in the ceremonial hall of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", in the presence of many foreign guests, statesmen and important businessmen the National Higher School of Physical Education was blessed.



The legislative initiatives date from 1941. At the time in the National Assembly a project is put forward for a Law for the National Higher School of Physical Education. There was disputes on three main questions that emerged: the town where the NHSPE will be located - Sofia, Ruse, Plovdiv or Ohrid ; the duration of the educational process - 4 years, as it is in Germany and Hungary, 2 years as it is in Italy or the estimated 3 years period that was needed in Bulgaria; the educational degree of the teachers who were to educate the first students.

The argument, that the future teachers must have a second degree, which can only be acquired in the some of the faculties of the Sofia Universitiy "St. Kliment Ohridski" , the Academy of Fine Arts, or the Musical Academy put end to the dispute for the location of the NHSPE deciding to choose Sofia as all the other higher educational institutions mentioned before are situated there also. The same reasons led to the decision that the professors should be pedagogues as well as their other speciality and that the duration of the education must be 4 years.

The estabilishement began with the Law promulgated  in the second issue of the "State newspapper" (3rd Jan. 1942). After а thorough examination of the biographies, recommendations and  published scientific studies of the candidates (political orientation and activity of the candidates led to their elimination from the competition) on 20th of June 1942 with a decree of Tzar Boris the following professors are appointed - Georgi Karaivanov and Ph.D Rusy Radkov; for associate professors - Borislav Iordanov and Georgi Gizdov and for teachers - Kiril Petrov. They also formed the first Academic Council. Later that year -on the 17th of October they were joined by the assistant professors - Ekaterina Nojarova-Diakovich, Anna Beleva, Neno Mirchev, Ph.D. Totio Totev and the lecturers - Full.Prof. D.Kadanov Ph.D., Ph.D. I. Dreksel, Full.Prof. L. Tzvetkov Ph.D, Ph.D Boyan Hadjistoyanov, Georgi Petkov, Jana Nikolova, Nadejda Bakalova, Angel Drumev, Hristo Haitov and Dragia Tomangelov. These newly appointed specialists were a attempt to balance the configuration of practice-theory.  

In the beginning there were four departements:

1. Health sciences - Anatomy, biology, anthropology, general physiology and physiology of physical exercises, general hygiene and hygiene of physical exercises, first medical aid, correctional gymnastics and massages;
2 Physical education - History of physical education, theory of physical exercises, methods in physical exercises (including practice);
3 General education - general knowledge of Bulgaria (in the field of bulgarian language and literature, ethics, bulgarian history, culture and geography) common psychology and psychology of physical exercises in different ages, common pedagogy and education by means of physical exercises;
4. Organization of physical training - modern organization of physical training in the world, law matters concerning the organization of physical training, notion of organazing camps, summer sports activities, children playgrounds, fairs, competitions etc., building and installation of places for exercising, knowledge of exercising gear and apparatus; 


The practical disciplines were devided in five groups:

  1. General physical training, special and ground gymnastics, apparatus games, weightlifting,
    music, dances and sketching;
  2. Track-and-field athletics and games;
  3. Water sports, winter sports, mountaineering, model construction, gliding
  4. Box, wrestling, fencing, djiu djitsu, archery;
  5. Learning of a foreign language (by choice) -  German, French, English and Italian.


Full.prof. Georgi Karaivanov is appointed managing director and Vassil Danailov is appointed secretary. After the automn of 1943 they are  replaced by Full.prof. Rusy Radkov and Stefan Petrov.

The first alumni (1942-1946.) consists of 77 girls and 15 boys. Selected among others by their superior anthropometrical qualities, abilities,  good general knowledge, knowledge of bulgarian language and orthography. On the 15th of October 1942 with a modest ceremony in the church "Alexander Nevski" the first school year is officialy opened.

The academical feel marks the official opening in October 1942. The mng. director Full.prof Georgi Karaivanov evaluates the contributions to the new school in the past  and determines the new institution as a part of the bulgarian cultural core which must "generate" cultural sense of appurtenance to a unique community. Full.prof. Rusy Radkov talks of authenticity and social enterprice. Together they described the goals of the school in three directions : "...to give a higher educational degree in the field of sports and physical training; to help and orientate the scientific researches in that area and to give the bulgarian people a new and better notion of physical training and education. 

Study in Chelopechene during the evacuation of NHSPE in 1944

In the end of the 1960s Full.prof Dragomir Mateev awards Neno Mirchev (National gymnastics championship)

The activities in these seminars built the relations with the institutions, the administration, the educational ideal and the scientific goals. The direction is clear - strenghtening the basis of a new bulgarian self-consciousness. Traditions are formed with much passion and enthusiasm. A peak moment of this general euphoric visiting of the women basketball team in the Royal College of Physical Training (3rd Aug 1943)

Physiology seminar in 1951.

An uniform is introduced  - bright blue costume for students (skirt or pants, white shirt, blue ties and hat) and dark blue uniform  for the teachers.

New dynamics is felt in the academic community thanks to the scientific manifestations of the academy which brought in many talanted pedagogues and theoreticians.
The facts are clear. The scientific progress started well before 1942.
Georgi Karaivanov concentrates his interests on the track-and-field athletics and games; Borislav Jordanov - in skiing, tennis, gymnastics and theory of the physical training. Georgi Gizdov expands our knowlegde in the field of psychology and pedagogics working on the basis of data which was limited at the time; Dimitar Grigorov, master of health education and physical training studied in the Springfield University in USA, worked in the field of physical mechanics and team games.


War and mysery are the conditions in the first years of the new educational institution (1942-1944). The World War II bombings of the capital forced the Academy to evacuate in the village of Chelopech. With the help of some educational courses, lectures, seminars and field team games in the fields of Zlatitza, Mirovo Chelopech and Pirdop the Academy somehow survives. Ahead lies an unsurtain future which will bring fundamental political, social and economic changes that will require general changes in the future Academy of sports.

IN THE CONDITIONS OF THE NEW "ORDER" (1944 - 1953)

The changes. The changes that took place after September 1944 brought a hole new order in the economic, social and political developement and international relations politics of Bulgaria. The adaptation to the eastern model of communist totalitarian regime subordinate to the Soviet Union required general changes in the National Higher School of Physical Education.
With a ordinance of the regents the managing director full.prof. Rusi Radkov is remove from its position and accused of treason along with all the other most important teachers and scientists - Alexander Diakovich, Georgi Gizdov, Borislav Jordanov and Dimitar Grigorov etc.


Alexander Diakovich
- А distinguished Sofian journalist
- Аssistant of the chief inspector of physical training in the Ministry of Education.
- An important figure in the Union of besarabian bulgarians
- An active collaborator of the Sofian Regional Sport District
- A lecturer of History of Sports in NHSPE
- Author of the first bulgarian "History of physical training" book.


Disappered without a trace some time after September 1944...


Alexander Diakovich, а distinguished Sofian journalist, disappears without a trace after a short "inquiry" was made. This injustice is questioned, without any results of course, by Borislav Iordanov - the first bulgarian with a degree in physical training, participated in the World Students tennis championship in Darmshtat in 1930, collaborator in the Bulgarian Olympic Committee after 1931, technical manager of the national bulgarian tennis and ski teams in the Olympic games in 1936 etc. He was professionaly discriminated and maltreated during the rest of his life


After the start of the political changes the educational process seemed to be slowly dying. It wasn`t until November 1944 when the normal educational process is initiated againg, but without any teachers with an academic rank. It took several months until Ph.D Dragomir Mateev was apointed as lecturer in physiology, a man who proved his erudition and great knowledge in the field back in 1942, but was eliminated because of political partiality (the reason he was apointed after the changes). When taking up his duties he was immediately chosen as director. He transforms the school into a cultural center. He has also connections with these people that first foresaw the necessity of scientific researches in the field of physical training. With his collaboration a new intelectual community was formed - Georgi Razsolkov (French), Evgeni Teodorov (German), Jivko Filipov (track-and-field athletics athletics, wrestling, djiu-djitsu), Dimitar Pecheniakov (Volleyball), Vesselin Temkov (Basketball), Iordan Nikolov (national folk dances), Iurii Braetski (co-tutor), Teodor Konstantinov (singing).

Other distinguished teachers from the past that joined afterwards were : Ph.D. Dobromir Dobrev (general physiology), Ph.D. Dimitar Oshanin ( commun education and psychology), Vassil Tsonkov (history of physical training), Ph.D. Ekimov (curative physical training), Ventzislav Angelov, Kosta Ignatov and Vassil Loutskanov (practical disciplines).


Soon after the general changes in the staff of the school, other changes took place concerning its status. It was renamed to - Higher School of Physical Culture. Institutions that helped the changes took place were the Central Council of physical culture and sports and the Committee of science, art and culture.

The new Higher School of Physical Culture is given two faculties - pedagogical and sports pedagogics. Twelve departments were formed in the place of the old four ones; the old term lecturer was replaced with teacher; a marking system based on five points is introduced; scholarships are provided for the best students; the choice for a second speciality is made during the probationary period; the HSPC welcomes  its first foreing students ( 6 students from Albania - 1948).

Description of the new twelve department system :

  1. 1. Biology and scientific philosophy;
  2. 2. Anatomy;
  3. 3. Commun physiology and physiology of the physical work and physical exercises;
  4. 4. General hygiene and hygiene of the physical exercises, medical surveillance, study of the physical development of the human body and athropometry;
  5. 5. Curative physical training, massages, sports traumatology, first medical aid;
  6. 6. Psychology and pedagogics;
  7. 7. Theory and methods of physical training;
  8. 8. History of culture, bulgarian history, history of physical culture, contemporary organization of the movement of physical culture and legislation in other countries;
  9. 9. Theory, taxonomy and practice in gymnastics (general physical training, ground and apparatus gymnastics, eurythmics, production gymnastics and order education) small preparatory games, bulgarian folk dances;
  10. 10. Theory, methods and practice of the track-and-field and heavy athletics;
  11. 11. Theory, techniques and tactics in sports games;
  12. 12. Theory, techniques and practise of general dexterity, games, game organazation, parades, tourism, mountaineering, winter sports, water sports, machine sports, horse riding sports, military education, shooting, fencing, aeromodelling etc.

On 17.06.1947 the director of the HSPC is named rector and his office is placed on G.S.Rakovski Str. N.157.

The lack of sports base forces the HSPC to rent other buildings and build its own new ones. Such is the case with the building of the "Shed" in the "Sugar Factory" residential district (29.11.45). NSPC also rents the building on "Evlogy Georgiev" avenue N.106 and rearanges it to a campus. Close to it was situated the canteen ("Graf Ignatiev" avenue N.76 - 13.11.1947) where the food was free. The question of a educational corpus bacema urgent. A commission was assembled (Kiril Petrov, Dimitar Oshanin, Anna Beleva) but the proposed ideas were rejected and with a decision by Georgi Dimitrov the school was given a building on "Gurguliat" str.N.36 (1948). Also the school uses the "Iunak" stadium, rebuilded after the bombing of Sofia with the labour of students, the "El Tepe" mountain hostel and the beaches of Ravda.

After the war many reorganizations of the administration and status of the school were made. This lead to numerous changes in the administrative submission. From 1949 it is subordinate to the Supreme Committee of Physical Culture and Sports (SCPCS). A decade later it returned in the state educational system.

On the 18th of July 1950 after an impressive ceremony in the National Theater "Ivan Vazov" the school changes its name to "Georgi Dimitrov". On that night another decision is made - the start of a two new sections - for extramural studies with a start of 25 students, and a coaches section (1950-1964).  The process was influenced also by the experience of Ksenia Kuzmina, Komarov, Korabov, Rudik, Puni, Ozolin, Markov and the guests from the delegation of the former German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary and Romania.

The initiative to form a sports club in the university dates from the 13th of July 1946. With a decision made by the academic council the club is placed under the control of the National Gymnastics and Sports Union. The work on the organization of the club is assigned to Neno Mirchev and Jivko Filipov. On the 31st of June the club is approved. Joining the for students was obligatory.


The first appearence is in the Balkan games in 1947. The bulgarian team consists of : Liliana Pesheva and Maria Atanasova (basketball), Dragomir Stoianov (volleyball), Milka Andreeva, Elena Popova, Sasha Mironska, Konstadin Bairaktarov, Mariika Arshinkova, Rusi Hristov, Stefan Stoikov, Vassil Metodiev, Boris Georgiev and Neno Nenchev - gymnastics. The training of the young bulgarian sportsman is assigned to the assistants - Vassil Liutzkanov, Kosta Ignatov and Jivko Filipov.
Next was the highschool sport festivities in Prague were a team of 27 bulgarian students represented our country. Full.prof.Ph.D. Dragomir Mateev, Kiril Petrov and Kosta Ignatov. In the end of the year (1947) the attention was focus on the future olympic competitors for the 1948 winter olympic in St.Moritz - Dimitar Drajev, Mladen Doichinov, Georgi Atanasov and Todor Chipev.

At the students Spartak games in the spring of 1952 the teams of HSPC won 22 first places of a total of 25. Months later with the cooperation of general Vladimir Stoichev the club gained the rights for  independant participation in republic competitions. President of the club at that time was Ivan Nikolov and Nikola Aladjov was sectretary.

Scientific goals.  A centralized management model was introduced. It was controled and under the surveillance by the Academic council. A important decision was made on the 18th December 1946 : "...and a plan must be elaborated to guide and orientate the scientific work of all departments to their goals in the field of scientific research."

Another formation that played an important role was the scientific college- corrective for the needs of the academic community. It consisted of Ph.D. Dobromir Dobrev, Dimitar Osharin and assoc.prof. Dimitar Grigorov and its role is to focus the ideal and the creative potential of the school. The data assures the real contribution commensurable by volume of the researches and the will to go beyond the borders of the empiric nature of science. The National Academy of Sciences motivates the new way of thinking and acquiring new knowledge of HSPC. NAS assignes to the school four scientific goals to keep the school moving forward and give it higher spiritual criteria:

  1. 1. Active and passive relaxation and their effect on the labour effeciency;
  2. 2. Physiological and hygiene basis for the rational organization of relaxation and leisure time;
  3. 3. Functional rhythm of the human organism and rhythmysation of the working process;
  4. 4. Physiological and hygiene basis of the competition;

With the help of these directions new structures in the university were formed : the "Scientific researches" fund, а unified plan for the scientific researches in natural conditions is created; attestation are introduced etc.
In 1950 the second yearbook of HSPC is released, scientific research commissions in other countries are made. New sections are formed during the years 1950-1953 - State Publishing House "Physical Culture" and "Central Research Institute of Physical Culture".

A complex conglomeration with a center that has its own style, traditions and pretentions. Its center consists of : Ph.D. Krastio Krastev, Ph.D Liubomir Ilinov, Ph.D. Ilcho Iliev, Atanas Kolarov, Ivan Mangarov, Bonio Parvanov, Elisaveta Genova, Ph.D Ekaterina Zaharieva, Petko Shterev, Ph.D. Iako Afar, Ph.D. Nikola Georgiev, Ph.D. Stamen Zotov and the director full.prof. Ph.D. Dragomir Mateev.


These new tendencies seem to bring new possibilities to the sport. There are periodic scientific sessions. The first one - 9-14th April 1951. There is also progress in the students studying groups that were united in an association the same year.

In June 1953 the university experienced many changes orientated to universal progress!

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