Balkan Team Championships 2010 29/30 October, Belgrade
Greece takes it all!
Greece are the big winners of the first Balkan Team
As expected Greek woman national team was to strong for
other girls and they won all their matches very comfortable.
Our girls surprised coming second taking their first medal
in an international event. Croatian girls came third, while
the newcomers from Bulgaria took the fourth place in their
first international event.
The men's competition saw some great matches on the final
Without Dan Zilic, an injured Dennis Drenjovski and me
playing and organising the event, we were not able to
surprise in front of our home crowd.
Slovenia beat us in the semis 3:0, while in second semi
final Greece beat Bulgaria 3:0 as well.
For the match between us and bulgarian team, SquashLand was
packed and our fans gave us really great support. Our no. 3
player Marko Matanovic won first match 3:1, Dennis was not
able to finish his match against Stelian Stankov, as his
injury got worser. I won my mach against Niki Angelov, so we
were very pleased with the third place.
In the final Greece and Slovenia showed why they were best
teams on this tournament. Already first match, was good
quality of squash and gave Greece 1:0 lead. The no. 1
players Fabian Kalastzis and Klemen Gutman played really
fast place with some excellent points in the second match.
Fabian, the former top 100 player, played specially the
first two sets very well. Gutman fought back in the third,
but Fabian showed up again in the fourth bringing Greece 1st
final day was also without any troubles outside the court
and we got some compliments for organisation as well...
Players got really relaxed after the tournament and the
party could start in Belgrade's famous club "Plastic", in
the center of the town.
It was great to see all this teams here and I hope that next
year in the Croatian capital Zagreb the tournament will be
even with more teams.
Big thanks to Michael Khan who helped me here a lot with the
organisation and for posting to the squashsite. And not to
forget Marko Podgorsek and Branimir Caric, who done great
The top 4 teams proved their
seedings and made their way to the semis.
saw some exciting squash last night in the tie between host
Serbia and Greece. At 1:1 in matches it was down to local
hero Ivan Djordjevic to secure the win of the pool and the
better semifinal spot for his team.
The first game though went to the experienced Petros
Tzamaloukas. Cheered on by the partisan crowd Ivan fought
back to a 2:1 lead and was 8:6 up in the fourth, only to
lose 5 points in a row and being forced into a fifth game.
Ivan manages to get a solid 8:5 lead when the match has to
be stopped in order to tend to the bleeding of Petros knee.
The break seemed to have disrupted Ivan's rhythm. After the
match resumes Petros manages to win the next four points
taking advantage of the slow ball.
The score bounces back to 10:10 but Petros clinches the last
and wins the match and the tie for his country.
now Serbia meets favourites Slovenia in the
first semi and Greece plays Bulgaria.
The future of the event looks very bright with a number of
nations showing interest to host next year.
29-Oct, Day One:
Early in the morning we've started BTC with managers meeting
where all team managers took part. We went again trough the
rules, so the tournament was ready to start.
Already in the first match the balkan mentality came
through, when two proud nations Greece and FYR Macedonia
were playing each other. After a while Michael Khan, ESF
technical director cleared the situation, so the match could
be finished. Greece was anyway far to strong for the pretty
new squash association from FYR Macedonia.
In the man competition there were no big surprises. Top 4
teams came trough and we will see Slovenia vs. Serbia and
Greece vs. Bulgaria in the semis today.
Greek woman team is by far the strongest in the woman
competition, but our girls managed to win at least one match
on the second position. After they've lost to Croatia at
ENCC in Poland few weeks ago, our girls got revenge this
time and manage to beat girls from Zagreb 2:1.
Today is last day, and as I am playing and organising this
event it is going to be another hard day, but the end is
getting near, so I look forward to the players party
28-Oct: Teams arrive in Belgrade
This afternoon first teams arrived to Serbians capital.
SquashLand is prepared to welcome them to 1st Balkan
As this is Balkan, trouble is expected, so we will have good
fun in next few days...
Mr. Gerhard Hager, the Croatian national team coach
arrived in Belgrade first and was already complaining about
the draw, as he is sure that his team should be better
seeded. He promised to prove me wrong during the tournament.
The no. 1 seeded team from Slovenia arrived bit
later, but as they haven't booked any trainings courts and
all were booked, they were not able to play today. They look
fit and prepared as always, so I am sure it will not be such
a big problem for them.
Team from FYR Macedonia is playing on an
international event for the first time and they arrived in
Belgrade this evening. It seems that they take their first
big tournament very serious, so I hope they will have some
good results here. They had some problems, as one player
forgot his jacket on some petrol station between Skopje and
Belgrade, but we were able to find no. from that petrol
station and believe it or not, his jacket was there with all
his documents and money!
While all other teams are here meanwhile, only Greek
team will arrive later this evening. They book their flights
bit to late, so they had to fly from Athens to Munich and
from Munich to Belgrade. This is probably the most
complicated way to come here!
Tom. we will have first managers meeting in the club and I
am sure that the first big arguments will start in the early
morning with first coffee. It will be great to see all my
friends on one table for our first big meeting ever and
first matches starting at 10 a.m.
Last big tournament we have organised here two months ago
and most of this players were here, so most of them know
club and courts here very well.
A first Squash
for the Balkans Ivan Djordjevic reports
Supported by the ESF, the inaugural Balkan Team
Championships will be held in Belgrade's top club
SquashLand (www.squashland.com) this coming weekend.
In this area of Europe squash is pretty new and only Greece,
one of the founder members of ESF and Slovenia, member since
1991, have much history in squash.
In all the other countries - Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia,
Montenegro, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and
Turkey - squash started after the year 2000.
8 men's and 4 women's
team will compete in this event!
Greece is for sure big favourite in woman competition and
will be hard to beat from Croatia, Serbia, or Bulgaria woman
In the menís competition Slovenia is expected to meet Greece
in the final, but Serbia and Bulgaria have also got their
chances to surprise.
We will not be able to play with full team in front of our
crowd, as Dan Zilic, our star writer and player had to
cancel his participation few weeks ago.
Anyway, this tournament is big step in regional development
of squash here and I am sure that in the future we will have
all Balkan countries taking part in this event.
It was hard work to establish this tournament and it will be
even harder to organise it, but I am sure that it will be
ESF technical director of the tournament will be Michael
Khan and tournament referee will be the best regional
referee Marko Podgorsek, from Slovenia, who is nominated for
his first PSA platinum event Quatar Qlassic, later on this
Serbian Squash Assotiation (www.squash.rs), and SquashLand
have already organised few big tournaments, like the
Belgrade Trophy and we are ready to welcome all players in
Belgrade for 1st Balkan Team Championships
of sport in this region is very high.
Star Belgrade manage to win Football Europacup (nowdays
Champions league), in the 1991, without a foreign player in
Serbia-Montenegro become Basketball World Chamion in 2002,
Croatia won Davis Cup in 2005 and was third on the FIFA
World Cup in 1998
Bulgaria was in the semi final of FIFA World Cup 1994
Slovenians Primoz Peterka won Ski jumping world cup in 1997
Greece became football European Champion in 2004.
Of course there are more great results, but those were on my
mind at the moment ........
As war in former Yugoslavia ended, new countries were born
and so it took while since most of them got first squash
Greatest squash player from this area is for sure Paul
Gregory from Greece, who was ranked top 10 in the 90ís.
Slovenia, Croatia and few weeks ago Serbia manage to win ESF
European Nations Challenge Cup.
Greece, Slovenia and Serbia took part in WSF World Team