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Liberty Cup –Vasile Balmus Memorial

 
Over a thousand Romanians died in the December 1989 revolution, killed by the communist oppressors. Among the people whose blood was shed in 1989 were also sportsmen who came in the streets to breathe the fresh air of freedom. One of the heroes who were shot and died before they had the chance to taste freedom was the bodybuilder Vasile Balmus, Florin Teodorescu’s friend and colleague. “He was standing near me on December 17th”, recalls Florin. “We had to rush asunder to hide from the gun shots. I heard a bullet. He fell down beside me. There was nothing I could for him in that moment. Nobody could have done anything for him. In memory of my friend, who did not have the chance to grow old, because he died at only 25, I initiated the Liberty Cup – Vasile Balmus Memorial, the most important competition for amateurs in Romania”, as proved by the great sportsmen who take part in it every year – world and European champions, multiple national and Balkan champions – and the value of the awards, which has exceeded 10,000 euro. First-rate world bodybuilders, several Mr. Olympia laureates included (a first-time event in Romania), have honoured the Liberty Cup with their professional demonstrations.
In the past years, the contest has become more and more attractive, as the open system replaced the weight categories. The former marathon-long contests are now shorter, but have gained in quality, and the audience is delighted to watch first-class bodybuilders who enhance the quality and the prestige of the competition.
 
 
  1. (1st edition)
 
The first edition took place at the CFR (Lira) Hall, on February 18th 1990. The memory of the martyrs killed in the revolution was still fresh; the Romanians could still hear the machine-gun bursts in their mind. People were avid for freedom expressed under any form, even in sport competitions. Tens of sportsmen from Timisoara, Arad, Sibiu, Targu Mures and Oradea came to participate in the first edition of what was to become the major amateur contest in Romania.
Younger juniors
65 kg: Ion Stefan (Electromotor Timisoara)
70 kg: Iulian Semenea (Electromotor Timisoara)
Juniors
65 kg: Mircea Draga (Vagonul Arad)
70 kg: Dan Cioban (Vagonul Arad)
Seniors
70 kg: Z. Burian (Azomures Tg. Mures)
76 kg: Nicolae Vacaru (Independenta Sibiu)
82 kg: Valentin Popescu (Electromotor Timisoara)
88 kg: Florin Teodorescu (CFR Timisoara)
+ 88 kg: Ioan Racolta (Azomures Tg. Mures)
Open: Florin Teodorescu
 
1990 (2nd edition)
 
The second edition also took place in 1990, but in December. That is why the number of the Liberty Cup editions is higher than the number of years passed since the December 1989 revolution (so the third edition was in 1991, the fourth in 1992 etc.). In excellent shape, the main competition organiser added his second great title to his record. The contest took place at the Youth House, under the aegis of FITT (Timis County Independent Youth Foundation).
Open: Florin Teodorescu
 
 
1991 (3rd edition)
 
On December 18th 1991, Florin Teodorescu won his third consecutive award at the Liberty Cup. The packed audience clapped the forty competitors enthusiastically.
Juniors
65 kg: Tiberiu Sandulescu (FITT Timisoara)
70 kg: Darius Mermeze (Astra Arad)
75 kg: Florin Ignat (Astra Arad)
80 kg: Dan Jiva (Astra Arad)
Seniors - women
Ioana Mengheles (CFR Caransebes)
Seniors
65 kg: Mihai Petreanu (Fujitsu Bilder Club Resita)
70 kg: Marius Hutiu (FITT)
80 kg: Eugen Kantor (FZ Tricolorul Arad)
90 kg: Valentin Popescu (Fujitsu Bilder Club Resita)
90+ kg: Florin Teodorescu (FITT Timisoara)
Open: Florin Teodorescu
 
 
1992 (4th edition)
 
On December 12th, the Youth House was packed with people looking forward to watch the 60 competitors. Florin Teodorescu came in first at the open category, followed by two bodybuilders with the same name: Vali Popescu (on from Resita and one from Timisoara!)
Juniors
65 kg: Tiberiu Sandulescu (FITT Timisoara)
70 kg: Ciprian Ritisan (Astra Arad)
75 kg: Marius Bilea (Eleganta Resita)
80 kg: Cosmin Nedescu (FITT Timisoara)
Seniors - women
Ioana Mengheles (Al Khader)
Seniors
65 kg: Valentin Popescu (Electromotor)
70 kg: Ion Mititelu (Electromotor)
80 kg: Eugen Kantor (FZ Tricolorul Arad)
90 kg: Valentin Popescu (Eleganta Resita)
90+ kg: Florin Teodorescu (FITT Timisoara)
Open: Florin Teodorescu
 
1993 (5th edition)
 
It was an edition that brought together the largest number of competitors - 80 sportsmen registered for it. Florin Teodorescu won his fifth consecutive Open category title, in front of a packed audience at the Youth House (December 11th 1993).
Juniors
65 kg: Vasile Olaru (Astra Arad)
70 kg: Vilian Zagura (Eletromotor Timisoara)
75 kg: Laurentiu Tamas (Astra Arad)
80 kg: Sandor Sere (Satu Mare)
80+ kg: Cosmin Nedescu (FITT Timisoara)
Seniors - women
Ioana Mengheles (CFR Caransebes)
Masters
Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
Seniors
65 kg: Walid Ahmed (FITT Timisoara)
70 kg: Nicolae Covaci (Ind. Sarmei Campia Turzii)
80 kg: Ioan Socol (Progresul Fagaras)
90 kg: Sandor Sere (Satu Mare)
90+ kg: Florin Teodorescu (FITT Timisoara)
Open: Florin Teodorescu
 
 
1994 (6th edition)
 
This edition was organised on December 17th 1994, the day when the heroes of the revolution are usually commemorated. Vasile Ardel, a European champion, won the Liberty Cup title for the first and last time.
Juniors
65 kg: Andrei Mon (Viromet Victoria)
70 kg: Marian Jurca (Viromet Victoria)
75 kg: Ionel Parau (Carpati Agnita)
80+ kg: Cosmin Nedescu (FITT Timisoara)
Masters
Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
Seniors
65 kg: Walid Ahmed (FITT Timisoara)
70 kg: Vasile Ardel (Aurul Baia Mare)
80 kg: Sandel Mandruta (Avicola Buzau)
90 kg: Francisc Andrasoni (Astra Arad)
90+ kg: Florin Teodorescu (FITT Timisoara)
Open: Vasile Ardel
 
 
1995 (7th edition)
 
A marathon-long contest (December 9th 1995) that lasted 6 hours and the largest number of participants: 104! Nicolae Giurgi, who was living in Hungary at the time, distinguished himself among the other sportsmen (the former champion Vasile Ardel, Florin Uceanu etc.) and won the Open title.
Juniors
65 kg: Florin Mocanu (Atlas Braila)
70 kg: Alexandru Csolti (Phoenix Baia Mare)
75 kg: Adrian Codai (Ind. Sarmei Campia Turzii)
80 kg: Daniel Szasz (Farul Constanta)
80+ kg: Dan Stanca (Astra Arad)
Seniors - women
57 kg: Irina Muntean (Farul Constanta)
+ 57 kg: Monica Sas (Aurul Baia Mare)
Masters
Alexandru Costache (Redis Buftea)
Seniors
65 kg: Nicolae Carolea (Titan Bucuresti)
70 kg: Walid Ahmed (FITT Timisoara)
75 kg: Mircea Muresan (Aurul Baia Mare)
80 kg: Vasile Ardel (Aurul Baia Mare)
90 kg: Florin Uceanu (Metrorex Bucuresti)
90+ kg: Nicolae Giurgi
Open: Nicolae Giurgi
 
 
1996 (8th edition)
 
The December 14th 1996 included a premiere: the first fitness competition! It was the first competition for the late Virgil Buruiana (third place at the 80 kg category) who was 19 at the time. Nicolae Giurgi, in great physical shape, won his second trophy.
Fitness
Carmen Leahu (Bucuresti)
Pairs
Irina Muntean and Florin Uceanu
Masters
80 kg: Alexandru Costache (Redis Buftea)
80+ kg: Petar Celik (Serbia-Montenegro)
Seniors
65 kg: Marian Bold (CSU Tg. Mures)
70 kg: Walid Ahmed (FITT Timisoara)
75 kg: Ioan Moldovan (AS Ind. Laptelui Tg. Mures)
80 kg: Cristian Mihailescu (Farul Constanta)
90 kg: Florin Uceanu (Metrorex Bucuresti)
90+ kg: Nicolae Giurgi
Open: Nicolae Giurgi
 
 
1997 (9th edition)
 
In spite of the difficult times our country was going through, the December 13th 1997 edition offered awards that totalled 9 million lei (about fifteen average monthly salaries!). Alexandru Costache, who had been known only as a veteran until then, also won the Open category, though he was limping because of an accident!
Fitness
Imola Heghedus (CSU Tg. Mures)
Masters
80 kg: Marian Bold (CSU Tg. Mures)
80+ kg: Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
Seniors
65 kg: Toma Dimitriu (CSS5 – Redis Buftea)
70 kg: Walid Ahmed (FITT Timisoara)
75 kg: Alexandru Costache (Redis Buftea)
80 kg: Virgil Buruiana (CSS5 – Redis Buftea)
90 kg: Florin Uceanu (Metrorex Bucuresti)
90+ kg: Florin Teodorescu (FITT Timisoara)
Open: Alexandru Costache
 
 
1998 (10th edition)
 
The guest tenth edition should have had Ben Weider, IFBB Founder and Honorary Life President, as guest of honour. He had accepted the organisers’ invitation, but later he had to cancel his arrival for medical reasons. At over 40, Alexandru Costache won his second Open title.
Fitness
 1.60 m: Mihaela Ionescu (ANEFS)
 +1.60 m: Imola Heghedus (CSU Tg. Mures)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Mircea Sibiceanu (Redis Buftea)
80+ kg: Constantin Bebeselea (CSU Sibiu)
(Age: 50+)
Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
Seniors
65 kg: Sebastian Vasut („U” DumiFitness Cluj)
70 kg: Ioan Moldovan (Lacta Tg. Mures)
75 kg: Alexandru Costache (Redis Buftea)
80 kg: Andrei Didi (FITT Timisoara)
90 kg: Graziano Del Grande (Italy)
90+ kg: Florin Teodorescu (FITT Timisoara)
Open: Alexandru Costache
 
 
1999 (11th edition)
 
World junior champion Virgil Buruiana took a step forward in his career and won the Open category. Surprisingly, at the 1999 edition Vasile Ardel didn’t come in first at the 80 kg category...
Fitness
 1.60 m: Mihaela Ionescu (ANEFS)
 + 1.60 m: Ana Maria Zvanca (Farul Constanta)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Marian Bold (CSU Targu Mures)
80+ kg: Eugen Demeni (DumiFitness Cluj)
(Age: 50+)
Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
Seniors
65 kg: Adrian Maruntelu (Culturistul Rm. Valcea)
70 kg: Liviu Oros (Expres Gherla)
75 kg: Sebastian Vasut (DumiFitness Cluj)
80 kg: Florin Roman (Galaxi Bacau)
90 kg: Virgil Buruiana (Redis Buftea - ANEFS)
90+ kg: Florin Uceanu (Metrorex Bucuresti)
Open: Virgil Buruiana
 
 
2000 (12th edition)
 
This was the first time that the Liberty Cup was organised at the Olimpia Sports Hall, which was to house all the following editions. Florin Teodorescu’s Centre, FITT, became Bodybuilding Fitness Timisoara. The winner was the Italian Graziano Del Grande, a sportsman who after some years shared the same tragic destiny as Virgil Buruiana, dying in an accident…
Fitness
 1.60 m: Cristina Necula (ANEFS)
 + 1.60 m: Mihaela Grigoras (Bodybuilding Deva)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Ion Mititelu (Electromotor Timisoara)
80+ kg: Mircea Sibiceanu (Redis Buftea)
(Age: 50+)
Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
Seniors
65 kg: Viorel Cristea (CSO Busteni)
70 kg: Auras Chirila (BB Ramnicu Sarat)
75 kg: Constantin Lazar (Redis Buftea)
80 kg: Ioan Moldovan (Lacta Tg. Mures)
90 kg: Graziano Del Grande (Italy)
90+ kg: Petrisor Popa (CS Deva – BB Alexandria)
Open: Graziano Del Grande
 
 
2001 (13th edition)
 
About 3,000 people crowded in the Olimpia Hall to watch the December 15th 2001 competition that offered the record sum of 70 million lei for the award winners. Ioan Moldovan finally won his long-desired Open title after several impressive performances at the previous editions.
Fitness
 1.60 m: Florina Cernat (ANEFS)
 1.67 m: Geanina Valcu (ANEFS)
 + 1.67 m: Alexandra Constantin (ANEFS)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Ion Mititelu (Electromotor Timisoara)
80+ kg: Zoran Ivanovici (Serbia-Montenegro)
(Age: 50-60)
Eugen Kantor (Tricolorul Arad)
(Age: + 60)
Gheorghe Valeanu (Petrochimistul Pitesti)
Seniors
65 kg: Radu Husa (FITT Timisoara)
70 kg: Bogdan Duru (Farul Constanta)
75 kg: Constantin Lazar (Farul Constanta)
80 kg: Ioan Moldovan (Lacta Tg. Mures)
90 kg: Angelo Alexa (Farul Constanta)
90+ kg: Graziano Del Grande (Italy)
Open: Ioan Moldovan
 
 
2002 (14th edition)
 
The 2002 edition was a tight contest of evenly matched sportsmen. The competition was organised also in memory of Virgil Buruiana, who had passed away the same year. Dragos Chirita won the Open, but the main attraction of the evening was the display of the American professional Craig Titus, who was in Romania for the first time.
Fitness
 1.60 m: Cristina Necula (ANEFS)
 1.67 m: Florina Cernat (CSS5 – Redis Buftea)
 + 1.67 m: Alexandra Constantin (Redis Buftea)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Giuseppe Bessana (Italy)
80+ kg: Zoran Ivanovici (Serbia-Montenegro)
(Age: 50-60)
Petar Celik (Serbia-Montenegro)
Seniors
65 kg: Ioszef Tamas (Titanic Tg. Mures)
70 kg: Mihai Geapana (Delta Power Cluj)
75 kg: Sebastian Vasut (DumiFitness Cluj)
80 kg: Dragos Chirita (Gym Mar Strong Oradea)
90 kg: Florin Uceanu (Metrorex Bucuresti)
90+ kg: Octavian Mihaita (Olympia Pro Gym Brasov)
Open: Dragos Chirita
 
 
2003 (15th edition)
 
Over 50 sportsmen from several countries competed in the December 6th 2003 edition. The Hungarian Laszlo Berkes proved his competence and came in first at the Open category. Two of the greatest Romanian bodybuilders, Cristian Mihailescu and Nicolae Giurgi, gave remarkable displays.
Fitness
1.60 m: Mihaela Ionescu (Hard Body Bucuresti)
1.67 m: Maria Antoaneta Ilie (BB Lacta Tg. Mures)
+ 1.67 m: Ecaterina Alecu (CSM Rova Rosiori)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Giuseppe Bessana (Italy)
80+ kg: Zoran Ivanovici (Serbia-Montenegro)
(Age: 50-60)
Petar Celik (Serbia-Montenegro)
Seniors
65 kg: Adrian Maruntelu (Culturistul Rm. Valcea)
70 kg: Auras Chirila (AS Florin Teodorescu)
75 kg: Anatoli Semerenco (ANEFS)
80 kg: Lucian Farcas (DumiFitness Cluj)
85 kg: Florin Uceanu (Metrorex Bucuresti)
90 kg: Laszlo Berkes (Hungary)
90+ kg: Graziano Del Grande (Italy)
Open: Laszlo Berkes (Hungary)
 
 
2004 (16th edition)
 
Sic weeks after the Mr. Olympia contest, where he came in fourth, the American professional Dexter Jackson gave a remarkable display at the December 2004 Liberty Cup edition. The best sportsman of the contest was Angelo Alexa, who won the Open.
Fitness
1.60 m: Mihaela Mariscas (CSU Oradea)
1.67 m: Lenuta Slabu (CSU Oradea)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
80 kg: Renato Caravaglia (Italy)
80+ kg: Giuseppe Besana (Italy)
(Age: 50+)
Petar Celik (Serbia-Montenegro)
Seniors
65 kg: Ioszef Tamas (Titanic Tg. Mures)
70 kg: Ovidiu Cosma (CSM Baia Mare)
75 kg: Anatoli Semerenco (ANEFS)
80 kg: Sandor Sere (Sanatatea Ergolemn Satu Mare)
90 kg: Angelo Alexa (Farul Constanta)
90+ kg: Marcel Manea (Activ Sibiu)
Open: Angelo Alexa
 
 
2005 (17th edition)
 
The senior competition structure changed and the open system replaced the categories. The winner, Mahmud Dogan, received 1,000 dollars, but the total investment exceeded 10,000 dollars. Why? Because great efforts had been made to bring the first Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, to Romania after he’d won his 8th consecutive title. Much to the delight of the public, Ronnie gave an exceptional show. For the first time, all the winners of the competition were foreigners. The Masters 50+ winner, the 65-year-old Italian Vernati, was remarkable!
Fitness
Tetiana Sawska (Ukraine)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
Giuseppe Besana (Italy)
(Age: 50+)
Ascanio Vernati (Italy)
Seniors – open:
1. Mahmud Dogan (Turkey)
2. Vladimir Granevski (Ukraine)
3. Angelo Alexa (Romania)
 
 
2006 (18th edition)
 
Starting with this edition, the Liberty Cup was organised in autumn (October 6th 2006). Because of the Grand Prix, that had required huge organisation efforts, a smaller number of participants came to the Vasile Balmus Memorial. The winner of the contest was a high-class sportsman, Bela Kathi, who returned to bodybuilding after obtaining good results in the “Strongest man” competitions.
Fitness
Mihaela Mariscas (CSU Oradea)
Masters
Eugen Kantor (Astra Arad)
Seniors – open:
1. Bela Kathi (Hungary)
2. Costica Caileanu (Romania)
3. Angelo Alexa (Romania)
 
 
2007 (19th edition)
 
The 2007 edition gathered a larger number of competitors and provided Bela Kathi, the former winner, the chance to prove that he was not a one-time champion. The Hungarian sportsman dominated the contest and came in first, though four of the first six winning competitors were also Hungarian! The fitness dispute proved quite interesting. Florina Cernat defeated the Hungarian champion Dora Szantai. (A day before, at the Classic Florin Teodorescu organised in Lugoj, Dora had proved better.) The professional Italian Daniele Seccarecci delighted the public with an extraordinary demonstration.
Fitness
Florina Cernat (Romania)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
Peter Liska (Serbia)
(Age: 50+)
Gheorghi Dimentiev (Bulgaria)
Seniors – open:
1. Bela Kathi (Hungary)
2. Tibor Kozarocz (Hungary)
3. Sandor Szokacs (Hungary)
 
 
2008 (20th edition)
 
For the anniversary edition (October 11th 2008), the organisers offered substantial prizes totalling over 10,000 euro, by far the largest sums ever given in an amateur competition in Romania. Although the contest took place at the same time with the second IFBB Grand Prix, this time a larger number of sportsmen participated in all categories. The winner was Alex La Llave, a Hungarian born from Cuban parents, a very young bodybuilder with a great future.
Fitness
Florina Cernat (Romania)
Masters
(Age: 40-50)
Ivan Todorov (Bulgaria)
(Age: 50+)
Cristian Mihailescu (Romania)
Seniors – open:
1. Alex La Llave (Hungary)
2. Hristomir Hristov (Bulgaria)
3. Gergö Bognar (Hungary)

 

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