Zagreb, July 19, 2018 – This Thursday, Sportska Hrvatska, his home city Zagreb, family members and numerous friends, including those from the neighboring countries, said goodbye to the table tennis legend Dragutin Šurbek who died on July 15, 2018 at the age of 72.
At the commemoration ceremony, held at the table tennis hall of the City of Zagreb Sports Association, his friends and teammates - Vjekoslav Šafranić, Zoran Primorac, Zoran Kalinić and Dane Korica (arrived from Serbia), Secretary General Žarko Ratković on behalf of the Croatian Table Tennis Federation and, at the end of this sad group, the Hungarian table tennis legend Istvan Jonyer – gave a very touching speech about one of the greatest Croatian athletes of all time.
The commemoration was also attended by a multi-member delegation of the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO), led by the President Zlatko Mateša who, talking about Šurbek for TV, pointed out:
- He was Marco Polo of Croatian sports, with incredible popularity in China. The Chinese honestly admired him. But this link with China is just one of his many roles and merits for Croatian sports.
Dragutin Šurbek was laid to rest in the afternoon at the Zagreb's Cemetery Mirogoj, in the area he personally suggested to be called the Alley of the Greats. In the last farewell to Šurba, one could hear many great words said by his friends, led by the Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić. The brilliant table tennis player, double World Champion in Pairs, owner of 36 medals from the World and European Championships, was described in the shortest and most impressive way by the journalist bard Veselko Tenžera (cited by the leader of the commemoration Božo Sušec):
- Šurba is the personification of a worker and an athlete who has earned each of his points honestly, manly...
Dragutin Šurbek died during the night from Saturday to Sunday. He left us, as Vjekoslav Šafranić said, on the same day when Croatian sports achieved a top result – when our football players won a silver medal at the FIFA World Cup, “as if one historic candle had to be put out so that the other could shine”. (coc/vk)