15:16 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Moscow says goodbye to legendary basketball coach

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    MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - A civil funeral for the president of the CSKA Army Basketball Club, Alexander Gomelsky, who died of a long illness at the age of 78, was held Tuesday, the club's web site reported Thursday.

    The site said the ceremony had originally been planned for 11 a.m., but people had started gathering near the CSKA universal sports complex in Moscow's northwest well in advance. The venue was able to house all those who came to pay their last respects to the coach.

    Three hours later, his wake started. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who was the first to speak, called the time CSKA had spent under the leadership of Gomelsky as a "golden era of national basketball" and said Gomelsky deserved the rank of a marshal rather than colonel.

    Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said Gomelsky was a real personality not only in sports, but in other spheres of life. He said people could always get advice from him.

    Head of the Federal Agency for Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism Vyacheslav Fetisov, Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee Vitaly Smirnov, who read out the IOC President's message and other officials attended the ceremony.

    Gomelsky was buried at the Vagankovskoye cemetery.