Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata facts for kids
|Full name||Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata|
|Nickname(s)||El Lobo, Los Triperos, Mensanas, Basureros|
|Founded||June 3, 1887|
|Ground||Stadium Juan Carlos Zerillo,
La Plata, Argentina
|League||Argentine Primera División|
Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata (CGE or GELP) is an Argentina sports club, of the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires. It was founded on June 3, 1887 as Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima. Its principal activity is football, and it competes in the First División Argentina, Argentina's premier league.
Its stadium is the "Juan Carlos Zerillo", known as the "Estadio del Bosque", capacity for 33.000 spectators.
Gimnasia were champions of División Intermedia of the Argentine Football in 1915, of the First División in 1929, of the "Copa Centenario de la AFA" in 1994 and of the Second division in 1944, 1947 and 1952; it was runner-up of the First División in 1924, Clausura 1995, Clausura 1996, Apertura 1998, Clausura 2002 and Apertura 2005.
- Amateur era (1891–1930)
- Professional era (1931–2008)
- Records and curiosities
- Shield or Logo
- Kit / Team jerseys
- Other sports
- Related pages
- Images for kids
The "Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata" was founded on June 3, 1887 as a civil association, and thus is the oldest surviving football club in the whole of South America. Its foundation came barely five years after the creation of the City of La Plata in 1882. The first sports offered to its members were, as its Spanish name indicates, gymnastics and fencing. Clubs supporting these sports were common among the upper classes at the end of the 19th century (cf. the prior foundation of Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires in 1880). Later on, other disciplines were added, including track and field, football, basketball and rugby.
The institution changed name a few times: from April to December 1897 it was called a "Club de Esgrima" due to the fact that fencing was the only activity practised at that moment. On December 17, 1897 it returned to its original name: "Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima". From July 1952 to September 30, 1955, the club was named "Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima de Eva Perón", due to the fact that the city of La Plata itself had been renamed "Eva Perón" in 1952, after Eva Perón's death. The city returned to its previous name during the government of the "Liberating Revolution", and so did the club. However, it remained unduly identified legally as "Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata", a mistake that was corrected on August 7, 1964 after the new statute was approved.
Amateur era (1891–1930)
Gimnasia had to abandon its original field at the corner of 13th and 71st streets, in 1905; at that time, it chose to discontinue the practice of football and to devote the club mainly to social activities. As a result, some members who were interested in playing football left and founded a club devoted principally to that activity: Estudiantes de La Plata. Later, in 1912, a group of football players who were in conflict with Estudiantes de La Plata joined Club Independencia, which later merged with Gimnasia y Esgrima in 1914, thereby returning to the practice of football. In 1915 Gimnasia y Esgrima joins "División Intermedia", wins the championship and thus promotion to the Primera División Argentina. On that year, Gimnasia obtains the two cups that were in dispute: Competencia Adolfo J. Bullrich Cup and Campeonato Intermedia Cup.
On April 27, 1916, Gimnasia played against Estudiantes de La Plata, its classic rival, for the first time. The match took place at the Estudiantes de La Plata' field (1st and 57th streets), where Gimnasia y Esgrima defeated its classic rival 1–0. That year, Gimnasia finished the championship in fourth place, behind Racing Club, Club Atlético Platense and River Plate, with nine victories, nine ties and three defeats. In 1921 Gimnasia would again reach fourth place, behind Racing Club, River Plate and Independiente, as a result of 23 victories, six ties and nine defeats.
On April 27, 1924 the new stadium was inaugurated, in La Plata's main park ("El Bosque", the Forest) at the intersection of 60th avenue and 118th street; it was named Stadium Juan Carlos Zerillo. Gimnasia y Esgrima remained undefeated in its new stadium for 15 months (from its first official meeting until July 1925). On that year, Gimnasia achieved second place, behind San Lorenzo, with 15 victories, seven ties and one defeat.
Title of 1929
In 1929, Gimnasia y Esgrima obtains its only First Division title in the amateur era, after a campaign that included fourteen victories and three defeats. The championship of 1929 was organized along the Copa Estímulo format, that is, teams where separated in two zones ("even" and "odd"), the title being defined in a game between the winners of each zone. Gimnasia y Esgrima won the first place in the "odd zone", which included River Plate, Racing Club, Huracán, and Estudiantes de La Plata, among other teams. The "even zone" was won by Boca Juniors, that qualified thus for the final meeting.
The final took place on February 9, 1930 at the old stadium of River Plate (at the intersection of Alvear and Tagle in Recoleta). On that day, Gimnasia fielded: Felipe Scarpone, Di Giano and Evaristo Delovo; Rusciti, Santillán and Belli; Curell, Varallo, Maleani, Díaz, and Morgada. After being down 0–1 at half time, the team turned the result and won 2-1 with two goals by Martin Maleani. That same year Gimnasia won the "Reserve" championship. Consequently, Gimnasia y Esgrima became the first club of La Plata to earn a title in a competition organized by an Association recognized by FIFA.
The European Tour of 1930/1931
Between December 1930 and April 1931, Gimnasia's team, which later would be known as "El Expreso" (in English, "The Express"), toured Europe and Brazil. Gimnasia became the first Argentine club outside Greater Buenos Aires to compete in Europe, and the first ever to play in Portugal, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Italy. In the European portion of the tour, Gimnasia played twenty-two games, winning eleven and losing six. On February 15, 1931, Gimnasia defeated Sportverein München 4-0 at Munich, in a game remarkable for being the first match played by an Argentine team on a snow-covered pitch. On March 8, Gimnasia won 3-1 over AC Sparta Praha at Prague, a team that was arguably the strongest in Europe at the time, and that no South American team had yet defeated. Gimnasia also won its matches against three of the most important European clubs: a 3-1 victory against Real Madrid (at Madrid, on January 1, 1931), 2-1 against FC Barcelona (at Barcelona, on January 6, 1931), and 1-0 against Benfica (at Lisbon, on March 29, 1931).
Professional era (1931–2008)
El Expreso of 1933
Already in the professional era, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata entered in the history of Argentine soccer with a famous team known as "El Expreso" (The Express). The "1933 Express" comfortably won the first round of the First Division championship. In the second round, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata led the championship, until it faced Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo de Almagro. In these matches, Gimnasia was subject to openly biased arbitration. In the latter game, the referee Rojo Miró favoured so blatantly San Lorenzo that the Gimnasia players famously refused to continue with the charade, and "went on strike." They simply sat on the field, while San Lorenzo scored unopposedly, before the referee terminated the game with a 7–1 outcome. The 1933 team ended in the fourth place (San Lorenzo was the champion) with a record of 21 victories, four draws and nine defeats. However, the legendary Express had been born, and it never left the memory of its fans. The top scorer of The Express was Arturo "El Torito" Naón with 33 goals.
Governor Alende Cup (1960)
This Cup was disputed in 1960 and was organized by the club Estudiantes de La Plata. It was called "Gobernador de la Province of Buenos Aires Dr. Oscar Alende Cup", in honoring the governor Oscar Alende. The cup was an international quadrangular, comprising friendly matches between Estudiantes, Gimnasia, Club Nacional de Football and Club Atlético Peñarol, the latter being the two main football clubs from Uruguay.
Gimnasia won both meetings against the Uruguayan teams: 5–2 against Nacional and 1–0 against Peñarol. Estudiantes lost its respective games for 0–1 and 2–5.
In the last match, Gimnasia tied with Estudiantes 2–2. On February 13, 1960, Gimnasia was therefore crowned champion of the Gobernador Alende Cup, at the stadium of its classic archrival, located at the intersection of the 57 & 1 streets of La Plata.
La Barredora (1970)
One of the teams most remembered by Gimnasia fans is "La Barredora" ("The Sweeper"). After almost a decade alternating good and bad performances, the championships organized by the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino were restructured.
The result was the creation of two championships: the "Metropolitano", played by teams affiliated directly to the AFA (and divided in two zones), and the "Nacional", played by the teams placed in the top positions of the "Metropolitano", in addition to teams from the leagues of the Argentine interior. The rest of the teams played the "Promocional" and "Reclasificatorio" cups. Other variants existed, whereby the "Metropolitano" was played as an all-team home-and-away round robin, and the "Nacional" in a two-zone competition.
In the first year, 1967, Gimnasia y Esgrima was champion of the "Promocional" tournament.
In 1970, Gimnasia y Esgrima finished second the zone "B" behind Chacarita Juniors, and qualified to the "Nacional" semifinal against Rosario Central, who had occupied the first position in the zone "A". At that time, a conflict developped between the players and the club's administration on a disagreement about performance remuneration. Unable to solve the issue, the President Oscar Venturino fielded the club's third division on the semifinal at Rosario. The final result was a 3–0 victory for Rosario Central.
The typical eleven in that remarkable team were: Hugo Orlando Gatti; Ricardo Rezza, José Bernabé Leonardi, José Masnik, Roberto Zywica, Roberto Gonzalo; Héctor Pignani, José Santiago, Delio Onnis, José Néstor Meija, Jorge Castiglia. José Varacka was the coach.
The Return to First Division (1984)
After a bad campaign, Gimnasia y Esgrima is relegated to Primera "B" in 1979. The team played in the Second Division between 1980 and 1984, year in which it returns to First Division. The team included football players such as Ricardo "El Pulpo" Kuzemka and Carlos Carrió; its coach was Nito Veiga.
In 1984 Gimnasia y Esgrima obtained the third place in the overall table, and thus qualified to dispute an Octogonal for the second promotion to First Division. The other teams in the octogonal were Racing Club, Argentino de Rosario, Club Atlético Tigre, Defensores de Belgrano, Club Atlético Lanús, Nueva Chicago, and Deportivo Morón. Gimnasia reached the final, where it defeated Racing Club twice, first 3-1 in Avellaneda, and then 4-2 in La Plata on December 30, 1984. After these victories, Gimnasia returned to First Division in 1985 and has been playing there ever since.
Copa Centenario de la AFA (1993–94)
The AFA organized in 1993 a cup-style (elimination) tournament named Copa Centenario ("Centennial Cup"), to celebrate its hundredth anniversary. Each first division team played its derby rival in two rounds in a double elimination system. Gimnasia eliminated its classic rival Estudiantes 1–0 with a goal by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and qualified for the next round after a 0–0 tie in the return match. Then, Gimnasia successively eliminated Newell's Old Boys, Argentinos Juniors and Belgrano de Córdoba to win the "round of winners". River Plate won the "round of losers" and qualified for the final, with Gimnasia having home court advantage.
Gimnasia won the final 3–1 with goals by Hugo Romeo Guerra, Fernández and Guillermo Barros Schelotto. River's goal was scored by Villalba. Gimnasia's winning team included Lavallén; Sanguinetti, Morant, Ortiz, Dopazo, Fernández, Bianco, Talarico, Gustavo Barros Schelotto, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Guerra.
After winning this cup, Gimnasia was invited to participate on the Sanwa Bank Cup in 1994.
From Griguol to Troglio (1994–2007)
With veteran coach Carlos Timoteo Griguol at the helm, Gimnasia took second place in the 1995 Clausura tournament, repeating the performance in 1996 and 1998. Also took second place in 2002 (coached by Ramaciotti).
Gimnasia also obtained second place in 2005 under Pedro Troglio's management, after an excellent campaign that had them fighting neck to neck with Boca Juniors until the very end of the championship.
These strong showings allowed Gimnasia to take part in the top club-level competitions in South America: the Copa Sudamericana during the 2006 and 2007 editions of the Copa Libertadores.
On September 10, 2006, during the halftime of a match against Boca Juniors, club president Juan José Muñoz confronted (and allegedly threatened) referee Daniel Giménez, who called off the match immediately, with Gimnasia leading 1–0. Muñoz was reprimanded by the football association and temporarily removed from its executive committee, although he was confirmed as Gimnasia's President by the club's board. A few days later, Gimnasia was eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana by the Chilean champions Colo Colo, following a quarter final match where a player of Gimnasia was injured by a cement piece thrown by Chilean supporters. Due to Gimnasia's physical play in the second leg of the quarter finals in Argentina, Argentine Football Association's president Julio Grondona wrote a personal letter to the president of the ANFP (the Chilean football federation) apologizing for the "roughness" of the Gimnasia players.
The pending second half against Boca Juniors was played on November 8, 2006. Boca Juniors scored four goals and won the match. After the match, Troglio and some of the players hinted that the team had received death threats from some supporters, who wanted to benefit Boca in its championship bid against Gimnasia's archrivals Estudiantes. Nevertheless, Estudiantes obtained the title in the end.
La Plata District Attorney Marcelo Romero opened an investigation and cited some players and club officers to testify, but the entire affair was soon dismissed. Player Marcelo Goux refused to participate in the next match and quit the team soon afterwards, as did fellow players Martín Cardetti and Ariel Franco. Many articles condemned Muñoz's handling of the situation, accusing him of lying to the press, and of treating violent fans as his protégés.
2007–08: New management
After a string of losses in the local championship and the Copa Libertadores, there were renewed calls for Muñoz to resign. Coach Troglio felt the burden of responsibility and quit his post on April 2, 2007. Gimnasia hired first famed Colombian trainer Francisco Maturana, and then Julio César Falcioni, both with limited success.
In the December 2007 election, Muñoz did not run, and the candidate he supported lost to the opposition. New club president Walter Gisande hired former player Guillermo Sanguinetti as team coach and tried to convince former players, notably Diego Alonso and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, to return to Gimnasia. Only Alonso, who was playing in China, made the leap.
Sanguinetti quit after a string of bad results that left Gimnasia in serious danger of relegation. Under new coach Leonardo Madelón, team results improved markedly, and as of the beginning of the 2009 Clausura tournament, Gimnasia is better positioned to stay in the Primera level.
The new management also campaigned for a return to its traditional ground at El Bosque. Starting April 2008, the stadium underwent a structural engineering evaluation after all security measures requested by authorities were put in place. On June 2008, Gimnasia was allowed to play again at El Bosque; the return took place in a match against Lanús, the last game of the Clausura 2008 championship. Mayor Pablo Bruera has indicated that the city will let Gimnasia buy or lease some city-owned lands for erecting a sports complex.
Records and curiosities
- Gimnasia is the oldest club participating in the Argentine Football League, as it was founded on June 3, 1887.
- Gimnasia was the first South American team to defeat Real Madrid C.F. on Spanish soil. The match was played on January 1, 1931 and ended with a score of 3–2 for Gimnasia.
- Gimnasia was the first Argentine club to hire a foreign manager in the professional era: Emérico Hirschl.
- Between August 12, 1932 and September 9, 1934 Gimnasia won five consecutive La Plata derbies, the longest run of victories in that derby to date.
- Gimnasia best score was an 8–1 victory against Racing Club on November 22, 1961. Curiously, Racing Club was the champion on that year.
- Gimnasia has the record for the fastest goal in the Argentine league: Carlos Dantón Seppaquercia scored against Club Atlético Huracán after five seconds, on March 20, 1979.
- At the reinauguration of Boca Juniors' stadium (La Bombonera) on May 5, 1996, Gimnasia defeated the home team by 6–0.
- Gimnasia has been in Primera División Argentina for 69 seasons.
Shield or Logo
The shield of the Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata is a wreath in which top part is outlined a helmet with a heraldic crest. At the center, on enamel and with the colors of the club (white and navy blue), the club monogram appears in relief. In the top cantons, like a guard, there appear the hilts of a saber and a foil, with their sharp points emerging at lower part of the shield. To the sides of the center a rama of laurels spreads the helmet, for every side.
Since its inception, the club shield has undergone some modifications. From 1887 until 1928, the shield used was devised by Emilio Coutauret, and it was characterized by a handcrafted and adorned design. In 1964, following a reform of the foundational statute, Gimnasia's shield adopted a simpler form, while still keeping the essence of the original one. This is the logo in current use, and often displayed on the team's jerseys.
There have been some minor changes introduced in the past few years. During Héctor Domínguez's presidency, the abbreviation at the center of the shield was changed, replacing the historical CGE (Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima), for the GELP (Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata), modification that persisted during the mandates of Gliemmo and Muñoz. Since the beginning of Walter Gisande's presidency, it was decided to return to the original abbreviation of 'CGE'.
Kit / Team jerseys
The official historical uniform of Gimnasia y Esgrima is based on the colours displayed in the club shield, as established in the institutional statute.
- Official uniform ("camiseta titular"): a white jersey with a single horizontal navy-blue stripe over the chest, white (or blue) trousers, white (or blue) socks.
- Alternative uniform: a navy-blue jersey with a horizontal white stripe over the chest, navy blue trousers, navy blue socks.
In the first years of life of the institution, the colors adopted were the white and light blue, seeking of this form to highlight the fact that it was an Argentine club. The first vest used by the team had vertical white and light blue stripes.
Later, in 1905, it was decided to change the colors to make it distinct from Racing Club. This resulted in a vest with vertical stripes of white and navy-blue color.
Finally, from 1910, the design was modified, changing the vertical stripes into the horizontal band of navy-blue color over a white jersey, which has been used ever since.
Apparel and Sponsor
(Last updated: February 14, 2009)
The following table details chronologically the providing companies of apparel and the sponsors that it has had Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata from the years 1980 and 1990 respectively:
During the year 2009, the apparel of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata will be provided by the company "Kappa", the one who will provide from uniform sports up to the extra-sports clothes. In turn, jersey will be supported by the company "La Nueva Seguros", of which it will take the name written in the principal band.
Within the city of La Plata and its environs, the Gimnasia fan base used to be identified with the working class, contrasting with the mostly middle class Estudiantes constituency. This characterization is no longer true. Most of Gimnasia y Esgrima fans are from the Greater La Plata area.
The fans' collective name for itself is "La 22", after 22nd street in La Plata where many famous fans lived, notably Marcelo Amuchástegui. Known as Loco Fierro, Amuchástegui was famous for his exploits, such as hanging a 100-meter Gimnasia flag in the Bombonera stadium.
As it is the case with some other clubs in the Argentine First Division, the fans celebrate with a large party and outside gathering the "Worldwide Day of Gimnasia's Fans" on each December 10.
Nicknames: The Wolf, and others
Since the 1960s, Gimnasia has been known as El Lobo (short for "El Lobo del Bosque", Spanish for "the wolf in the Forest") after the story of "Red Riding Hood", since its historical football field is in the middle of La Plata's main park, known as El Bosque ("the forest"). Many other Argentine clubs also called "Gimnasia y Esgrima" adopted later the nicknames of "El Lobo" after the La Plata team.
Another nickname, mensanas, derives from the Latin motto used in the shield: Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body).
An original nickname was (and still is) triperos ("tripe" or "gut-handlers"). This name has its origin in the fact that many of Gimnasia's original supporters worked in the meat-processing plants of nearby Berisso. In newspaper caricatures from the early 1900s, Gimnasia was accordingly depicted as a "butcher", instead of the current "wolf". Yet, still today, Gimnasia is often greeted into the stadia by its fans with a resounding "Tripa corazón!" (Spanish for "Go Tripe Go!"). Curiously, the same nickname is applied when referring to the population of Porto in Portugal, although the meaning of the nickname in Portuguese is closer to "tripe-eaters".
Another nickname is basureros ("garbage or waste collectors"), acquired during the presidency of Mr. Venturino in the 1970s, who also managed the private company dealing with trash pickup in La Plata.
The Stadium Juan Carlos Zerillo, known as El Bosque (Spanish for "the forest", because it is in the La Plata park of the same name) has a capacity of 31,460 and was used continuously until 2005.
When a new city stadium was built for La Plata, both Gimnasia and Estudiantes initially chose to stay at their respective fields, but this arrangement collapsed when both fields were closed down due to new security regulations. In the 2006 Clausura tournament, Gimnasia began to use the city stadium for home games.
Beginning on March 2008, Gimnasia made various reforms to its old stadium, seeking to secure the permit for its use at selected games. Finally on June 2008, the "El Bosque" grounds were reapproved for First Division competitions. On Saturday June 21, 2008, on the occasion of the last game of the Clausura 2008 championship, Gimnasia returned to its old home in a match against Lanús.
National Official Tournaments
- Primera División:
- Winners (1):1929
- Runners-up (1): 1924
- División Intermedia del Fútbol Argentino:
Winners (1): 1915
National Friendly Tournaments
- Copa Competencia Adolfo J. Bullrich (1): 1915
- Copa Campeonato Intermedia (1): 1915
National Official Tournaments
- Primera División:
- Runners-up (5): Clausura 1995, Clausura 1996, Apertura 1998, Clausura 2002, Apertura 2005
- Copa Centenario de la AFA (1): 1994
- Segunda División:
- Winners (3): 1944, 1947, and 1952
- Runners-up (1): 1946
National Friendly Tournaments
- Copa Amistad (2): 1977 y 2006
- Copa Ciudad de Mar del Plata (1): 2009
- Copa Municipalidad de La Plata (2): 1999 and 2001
International Friendly Tournaments
- Copa Gobernador Alende (1): 1960
- Copa Colonia del Sacramento (1): 1998
- Cuadrangular de Asunción (1): 1975
- Copa Cristal (1): 2005
- Second place of Sanwa Bank Cup (1): 1994
GELP has a female volleyball team. They are the only one of the nine founder clubs from the Federación de Voleibol y Pelota al Cesto
, still playing volleyball and in the highest division. The federation is now Federación Metropolitana de Voleibol (FMV).
Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata is also known for several excellent campaigns in basketball. The GELP basketball team peaked during the 1978 and 1979 campaigns, when they won twice in a row Argentina's premier basketball championship (Metropolitano titles). In both cases, they prevailed over favorite Obras Sanitarias, Argentina's powerhouse at the time. The team included players such as "Gallego" González, "Finito" Gehrmann, Peinado, as well as some Americans: Michael Jackson, Lawrence Jackson Jr., and the team leader and star, point-guard Clarence Edgar Metcalfe, chosen as the league MVP in 1979. The twice-champions were coached by Rolando Sfeir.
Gimnasia were runners-up in the 2003/04 Argentine league tournament, when GELP was defeated by Boca Juniors 4–2 in the final series. In the following season, the team was relegated to the TNA (Second Division) after president Juan José Muñoz decreased substantially the basketball budget, thereby causing the loss of its principal players. Nowadays, Gimnasia's first team of basketball plays in the TNA.
In addition to the aforementioned sport activities, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata participated in other disciplines throughout its history. The following sports are no longer practiced in the club:
- Rugby football: In 1933, the "Unión de Rugby del Río de la Plata" decided not to allow the affiliation of clubs that participated professionally in other sports (e.g., football). As a result, the mens sana team playing rugby was forced to rename itself distinctly as "Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata Rugby Club". Four years later, however, it was decided to channel rugby activities through an independent institution, thereby creating what is today "La Plata Rugby Club".
- Table tennis: The "Asociación Platense de Tenis de Mesa" ("La Plata Association for Table-tennis", part of the Argentine Federation of the sport) existed between 1945 and 1951. Gimnasia was a founding member of the Association, and it obtained the majority of the tournaments organized during these six years.
- Fencing: From its creation, the practice of fencing was an important activity at the club. The sport reached its peak during the first two decades of the XX century. Between 1914 and 1924, it was dominated by the outstanding performances of Horacio Casco, then president of the club, and Carmelo Merlo, both Argentine representatives in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. At the end of the 1940s, the practice of this discipline was discontinued.
- Greco-Roman wrestling: Between 1924 and 1928 the club had a team of Greco-Roman wrestling.
- Field hockey: In 1949, the club starts informally the practise of Field Hockey, and it affiliates formally on April 1949. The hockey field was in the Stadium Juan Carlos Zerillo, at the "El Bosque" grounds.
- Gymnastics: During the 1930s, the practice of gymnastics played a central role in the club's activities. Members of the Gimnasia team were part of the Argentine delegation that competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. This discipline was discontinued after 1976.
Images for kids
The 1929 team that won its only Primera División title to date. Francisco Varallo is seated second, from left to right.
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