Q&A : Ministry of ball control

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The Independent Online
Q. Dynamo Moscow, Kiev, Bucharest, Berlin, etc, were all originally secret service teams. But why the word "Dynamo"?

A. The above clubs were not all originally secret service teams. The first Dynamo club was Dynamo Moscow, who were founded as Orekhovo Sport Club in 1887. Following the revolution, the club was taken over by the Electrical Trades Union and changed its name to Dynamo in 1923. Subsequently, its ownership moved from the ETU to the Ministry of the Interior.

Following the Second World War, Dynamo clubs sprang up in several countries in Eastern Europe. Two Bucharest clubs, Ciocanul and Unirea Tricolor, amalgamated in 1948 under sponsorship of the Romanian Ministry of the Interior, to form Dynamo Bucharest. In East Berlin, the local police sports club became Dynamo in 1954.

The word Dynamo, however, goes back to the period during trade union ownership of Dynamo Moscow. - Graeme Crawford, East Kilbride

Q. The suggestion of a rugby challenge match between Bath and Wigan reminded a friend of mine that two games between the British rugby union and the rugby league took place during the last war. Under which codes were these games played, and what were the scores?

A. The two representative matches were played under rugby union rules. The first match, organised by the Northern Command Sports Board, took place at Headingley (Leeds RLFC) on 23 January 1943. The League XV won 18-11. Another match was organised by the Inter- Services rugby football committee on 29 April 1944. The match was played at Odsal Stadium, the home of Bradford Northern RLFC, and the result was 15-10 to the League XV. - Alex Harrowell, Addingham, West Yorks

Q. West Bromwich must be sick of Stoke City after the recent 1-0 defeat by the Potters. Since beating Stoke 6-0 on 18 December 1988 at the Hawthorns, West Bromwich have failed to win in any of the next 13 meetings. Can any other club justify the title of "The mother of all bogey teams"?

A. Chelsea can be said to have fulfilled that role for Tottenham Hotspur. Spur's last victory over Chelsea was in August 1987, when they won 1-0. Since then the two sides have met there seven times in the league and twice in cup competitions.

Tottenham's last win at Stamford Bridge was in February 1990, when they won 2-1 with a last-minute goal by Gary Lineker. Since then they have met in 14 games, of which Chelsea have won seven. - David Sweeney, Sunbury- on-Thames


Q. Which country has won the most Olympic medals per head of population? I would guess that New Zealand, with a population of just over 3,000,000, would be a front-runner. - D Coleman, Welford

Q. In August 1977, Steve Ovett won a road half-marathon, defeating one of Britain's best marathon runners in the process. Just two weeks later in the World Cup 1500 metres, he devastated the world's leading milers. Many observers, like the late Cliff Temple, have called this the greatest 1500m performance. Has any other athlete shown such a mastery of distance and surfaces in such a short time? - Martyn Hanson, Birmingham

Q. The minimum distance in horse racing for hurdles and chases is two miles. Have there ever been shorter races over the jumps? - Mark Hobbs, Peterborough

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a question of your own, write to: Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.