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Balkan Team Championships 2010
29/30 October, Belgrade
Greece takes it all!

Greece are the big winners of the first Balkan Team Championship.

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 day.

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 Balkan title.

The 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 job!


Full Pool Results

Top Teams move into Semis

The top 4 teams proved their seedings and made their way to the semis.

We 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.

Again 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 two points
and wins the match and the tie for his country.

So 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 tonight...

Women's Table

Teams arrive in Belgrade

This afternoon first teams arrived to Serbians capital. SquashLand is prepared to welcome them to 1st Balkan Team Championships.
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. We'll see...

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 championship
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 teams.

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 big success.

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 year.

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

The standard of sport in this region is very high.

Red Star Belgrade manage to win Football Europacup (nowdays Champions league), in the 1991, without a foreign player in the team.

Serbia-Montenegro become Basketball World Chamion in 2002, in Indianapolis.

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 courts.

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 Championship.


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