The Balkan U17 Badminton Championships took place Karatas, organized by Badminton Association of Serbia, under the patronage of Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports and with the institutional support provided by Olympic Committee of Serbia, Balkan Badminton Association, Sports Association of Serbia, Serbian Institute of Sport and Sport Medicine and Anti Doping Agency of Serbia. This Championships gathered the best male and female badminton players from eight countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Serbia.
Out of all participants, five countries had their representatives on the medal podium, indicating that equal quality levels of players and match suspense were the main impression from the competition that has broken the Balkan U17 Championships record regarding the number of participating athletes.
Once again, Serbia demonstrated high quality event management during this successful and unforgettable three day event which has been highly rated by more than 120 participants. One of many delegation representatives, vice-president of Badminton Europe Confederation and the president of Turkish Badminton Federation, Murat Özmekik, arrived to Karatas accompanied by his Secretary General and members of the board of Turkish Badminton Federation. During his stay in Serbia, Mr. Özmekik used the opportunity to provide help, in terms of badminton equipment, for clubs and other groups from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina who had suffered during recent floods which struck the whole region.
Murat Özmekik gave a brief statement: "I congratulate Serbia and Badminton Association of Serbia for successful management of Balkan Badminton U17 Championships Karatas 2014 displayed high level of management, and we are especially pleased with the record breaking number of participants. Young and promising Management Team within the Badminton Association of Serbia is constantly pushing the barriers in all directions including large leaps of their international competition results which culminated this year with a silver medal at the U15 European Championships won by Luka Milic and the qualification for the participation in Youth Olympic Games by Dragoslav Petrovic. Teams of Bulgaria and Turkey, and recently Croatia and Serbia, now win medals on the biggest European events proving that Balkan badminton, and its Federations, represent important and very strong part of European and World badminton family’’.
Özmekik also gave his opinion about the competition which had been conducted as a test, implementing the new set of rules (three games won, each game up to 11 points): ‘’New set of rules has already been tested on a number of competitions for seniors, but Karatas is the first event for younger players with implementation of these rules. Having in mind the large number of matches played, Karatas Championships will be one excellent test sample for the new set of rules. What is already obvious is that matches have become more unpredictable and therefore more interesting for TV broadcasting’’. Beside Özmekik, Balkan Championships was attended by head officials of other participating countries.
Radomir Jovovic, President of the Executive Board within Badminton Association of Serbia, was also pleased. ‘’We are extremely happy and proud of the competition results we have achieved as well as with management of the event which had been often compared with the high level events in badminton. All the participating countries showed evident progress regarding competition skills. Very exciting team and individual event, played with the experimental scoring system, brought the winners from five Balkan countries. Media coverage of this Balkaniade was improved by the realization of the live streaming during all the competition.
Weakened by the absence of Luka Milic, the current U15 European silver medalist, the young and very perspective Serbian Team members gave their true maximum on the court and against very tough competition managed to win two individual medals. Only few points stood between Serbian Team and success of winning one of the medals in team competition and two more individual medals but anyhow Serbian Coaching Staff and Association Officials are truly pleased with the achievements. I would like to use the opportunity to thank Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports for full support in realization of Balkan Championships and also International Badminton Training Camp preceding this event. We truly appreciate the help and support of Serbian Government and continually strive to justify provided budget with sports achievements and results on and off badminton court. I am also using the opportunity to thank Badminton Europe Confederation and Turkish Badminton Federation, represented by Mr. Murat Özmekik, for donating badminton equipment to National Badminton Associations of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and also Serbia and for supporting regional badminton centers from areas struck by natural disasters. Serbian badminton once again justified its rightfully earned place on the Europe’s and World’s badminton map’’ – noted Radomir Jovovic.
– Men’s Singles: Filimon Collins (Romania), 2. Daniel Nikolov (Bulgaria), 3. Andrija Doder (Serbia), Salim Serhat (Turkey); Women’s Singles: 1. Kader Inal (Turkey), 2. Unlu Busra (Turkey), 3. Nazlican Inci (Turkey), Polyvia Tzika (Greece); Men’s Doubles: 1. Ivan Panev / Daniel Nikolov (Bulgaria), 2. Baran Yuksel / Salim Serhat (Turkey), 3. Florentin Gasca / Mihai Grosu (Romania), Melikidis Pachalis / Geranis Athanasios (Greece); Women’s Doubles: 1. Bengusu Ercetin / Nazlican Inci (Turkey), 2. Irina Calin / Andreea Dimitriu (Romania), 3. Lena Janic / Natasa Pavlovic (Serbia), Maria Delcheva / Mihaela Neycheva (Bulgaria); Mixed Doubles: 1. Filimon Collins / Andra Olariu (Romania), 2. Metin Pehlivan / Kader Inal (Turkey), 3. Mehmet Akarsu / Unlu Busra (Turkey), Baran Yuksel / Bengusu Ercetin (Turkey); Team Competition: 1. Turkey, 2. Romania, 3. Bulgaria, Greece.
Besides mentioned institutions, organization of Balkan U17 Championships – Karatas 2014 has been sponsored and supported by ‘’Lasta’’ Transport Company, ‘’Coca Cola’’ Company, ‘’Tin Sped’’ Company, ‘’Yonex’’ Company and ‘’Nasa Koka’’ Company.
Article and photos by Serbian Badminton Federation.