LEN learnt with immense sadness that one of the sport’s greatest legends Alexander Kabanov passed away.
He was a true water polo icon in Russia, one of the four players who were part of both golden Olympic quests of the mighty Soviet team in Munich 1972 and Moscow 1980. He was also two times world champion in 1975 and 1982 and European champion in 1983.
After enjoying a sparkling playing career he became a coach and over the years his results began matching his earlier successes in the pool. He was heading the last successful generation of the Russian men’s team which clinched a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and added a bronze in Athens 2004, lifting Kabanov to the few greats in the world of water polo who could claim Olympic medals both as a player and a coach. He led his team to a World League and World Cup victory in 2002, the last titles till date for the men’s team of this outstanding nation.
And the maestro remained very active and proved his brilliant coaching skills as he switched to women’s water polo and brought the long-awaited success to Russia’s top team Kinef Kirishi. The team took part in 10 Euro League Final Fours – including five lost finals – before they could reach the top in 2017 and 2018. It was Alexander the Great who was in charge when Kinef finally clinched these back-to-back Euro League titles.
Mr Kabanov celebrated his 72nd birthday just two weeks ago – his calm personality, bright sense, tremendous knowledge and experience shall be badly missed not only in Russia but in European Aquatics too.
In these grieving moments, the LEN Family sends its heartfelt condolences to Mr Kabanov’s family, friends and to the Russian aquatic community.