U15 Balkan Championships Press Release
Date: 9/9/2016 3:54 PM
Published by : Emma Lollike
Serbia became new Balkan Team Champion. Marija Sudimac won gold medal in women's singles. Turkey won four gold medals in individual events in Balkan U15 Championships - Novi Sad 2016, which was held from August 26-28 in sports center Slana Bara.

Serbian badminton shed a light on the international stage once again both in terms of event management and competitive results. Balkan U15 Championships – Novi Sad 2016 was held from August 26 to 28, 2016, in Sports Center Slana Bara and has gathered over 150 participants from seven Balkan countries. Turkey dominated the competition by winning 13 out of 24 medals but Serbia made a breakthrough with a total of five medals - one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in individual events and gold medal in team event as the most significant. 

‘’We are more than happy with performances and results of our team members here in Novi Sad. We have won the first gold medal in team events and this really is a great success having in mind the quality of competitors coming from Balkan countries. Sergej Lukic and Marija Sudimac, who are a part of Olympic Committee of Serbia development projects which are fully supported by Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports, have played and acted as true leaders of this generation. However, other team members deserve to be praised as well. They have fought fanatically for each point and each one of them made their own contribution to this great success. In the individual events we managed to win four medals and every medal has its own specific weight. Still, I would like to single out the gold medal won by Marija Sudimac since it is the first gold medal in WS for Serbia on this particular competition. To resume, this Balkan Championships was a chance to demonstrate the strength of Serbian badminton youth once again and thi
s result will surely be a new driving force for Serbian badminton community’’ said Milan Barbir, Head Coach of Serbian National Team and a member of Coaching Staff for this event also represented by Dragan Antic, Nikola Mijacic and Igor Sesic.

The feeling that this is going to be the most successful Balkan Championships for Serbia was felt in the air from the very start of team competition. Optimism, confidence and good atmosphere were main characteristics of Serbian Team comprised of Sergej Lukic, Mihajlo Tomic, Matija Cupara, Marija Sudimac, Sara Loncar and Minja Milovanovic. In the first round Serbia defeated Croatia (4:1) and in the second round also managed to be better than Romania (5:0). This was enough to qualify for semifinals. In the semifinal round Greece lost to Serbia (3:1) and duel between Serbia and Turkey, team with 100% score, was scheduled.   

Battle for gold totally met the expectations. Sergej Lukic won first point for Serbia by defeating Hilmikan Simsek in MS (2:0). Marija Sudimac doubled the score against Bahar Yavru in WS (2:1). Turkish Team recovered points in MD. Semih Baka Basakin and Sezgin Kelebek were better than Mihajlo Tomic and Matija Cupara (2:0). An equalizing score came after WD match. Azime Sertas and Bahar Yavru defeated Sara Loncar and Minja Milovanovic with 2:0. The decision was made in the fifth round when mixed doubles entered the court. After the big turnover Sergej Lukic and Marija Sudimac won the match with 2:1 and defeated Semih Bahu Basakin and Zeynep Gokcen Ergincan. This was the winning point which brought the first Balkan Championships title in team events for Serbia. Bronze medals went to Greece and Croatia, both defeated in semifinals. 

Gold in team event boosted the energy of Serbian players in the individual events but Turkey wanted to make up for the loss made hours before. First individual medal for Serbia was captured on Saturday, August 27. Lukic and Sudimac lost XD semifinal match to Hilmikan Simsek and Ceren Ozdemir who later won the silver medal. However, this was only the beginning because Serbian players qualified for another three semifinals, all scheduled for Saturday. Last day of Balkan Championships brought bronze medal to Matija Cupara and Mihajlo Tomic who were defeated by Hasan Berkay Gunbaz and Yunus Emre Karakas of Turkey in a battle resembling match.  Afterwards the courts were occupied by MS and WS competitors. Sergej Lukic and Marija Sudimac qualified into finals after winning matches against Nurullac Sarac of Turkey and Grammatoula Sotiriou of Greece respectively. First gold in individual events and first trophy for Serbia in WS on Balkan Championships was won by Marija Sudimac who managed to outsmart Bahar Yavru from 
Turkey. The final touch was made in the MS finals. Sezgin Kelebek of Turkey became Balkan U15 Champion after mastering against Sergej Lukic who won his first Balkan U15 Vice-Champion title.   

‘’We were preparing for this event for a long time, and to be honest, we expected to be successful in team competition. I am more than happy because of the fact that we represent the first generation of Serbian badminton players who managed to win Balkan Champions title in team event. From the start we acted in unison, we supported each other and in the end we deservedly won the title. I want to take this opportunity to thank my teammates and all the coaches. From the very beginning we have believed, we worked together and in the end we seized this very important goal. I personally prefer of this team gold over the medals I have won in individual events here in Novi Sad. However, gold in WS and bronze in XD with Sergej Lukic have their own weight because on Saturday I got ill with fever and it continued to cause me trouble on Sunday while I was playing semifinal and final matches. But there was no holding back. I was determined to give my best performances and I managed to get the medals. I really wanted thos
e medals and the circumstances I have found myself in only charged my desire’’, stated Marija Sudimac, MVP and main figure of this Balkan U15 Championships. 

With a little luck, the current medal score could have been even greater for Serbia. The last obstacle on the path to the medal podium was impenetrable for Mihajlo Tomic and Matija Cupara in MS. They lost their quarterfinal matches from gold medal winner Kelebek and his teammate Simsek, both from Turkey. Representatives of Serbia in WD shared same fate. Ana Slamarski and Jovana Vucetic were defeated by Azime Serttas and Bahar Yavru of Turkey, while Sara Loncar and Minja Milovanovic lost to gold medal winners, Yasemen Bektas and Gorkem Esra Ergincan also of Turkey. Besides the mentioned players who competed in individual events, Serbia was also represented by Aleksandar Safarik who was playing and lost his match to Bulgaria’s Dimitar Nenchev in round 2 of MS.

Balkan U15 Championships – Novi Sad 2016, organized and managed by Badminton Association of Serbia has ended with a medal awarding ceremony. The event was conducted under the patronage of Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports, City of Novi Sad, Sport and Youth of Vojvodina, Tourist Organization and Museum of Novi Sad. Institutional support came from Olympic Committee of Serbia, Sports Association of Serbia, Balkan Badminton Association, Serbian Institute for Sport and Sports Medicine, Anti-Doping Agency of Serbia and University Sport Federation of Serbia. Besides competitors, coaches and  management of Badminton Association of Serbia, medal awarding ceremony was also attended by Mr Ognjen Cvjeticanin, Member of Novi Sad City Council in charge of sports, Mr Dragan Milic, Deputy in charge of Youth Department within Sport and Youth of Vojvodina, Mr Mirko Kantar, Head of Sports Department within Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ms Vesna Jovicic, Museum of Novi Sad Director, Ms Emilija Maric, General Manager o
f Novosadska TV, Mr Predrag Marcetic, General Director of Tin Sped Company, Ms Viktoria Chatzina, President of Hellenic Badminton Federation, Mr Ratko Galjer, President of Croatian Badminton Association and Mr Isa Ayan, Vice President and Secretary General of Turkish Badminton Federation accompanied by high representatives of Turkish Badminton Federation.

‘’Badminton Association of Serbia once again managed to ensemble young elite badminton players from Balkan Peninsula. Considering the quality of players and countries competing on this Championship it is hard not to compare it with other continental events in terms of quality. We gave our maximum effort as organizers to provide best possible conditions for all the guests from seven participating countries, among all Bosnia and Herzegovina who unfortunately did not compete but had provided a number of umpires. I must emphasize that our young competitors have reached the goal that all competitors from Balkan countries dream about, and that is winning the gold medal in team event which has been repeatedly won by Team Turkey for years now. I must admit that the felling is fantastic. Representatives of important national institutions, members of the State and City Council members as well as representatives of Balkan Badminton Federations who were present at the Championships and attended the awarding ceremony real
ly contributed to significance of this important and largest regional event.  I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sport which once again provided full financial support to the organization of this event and training camp which has been organized just before the start of the Championships.  I would also like to thank to the City of Novi Sad and Sport and Youth of Vojvodina for supporting all of our events taking place in Novi Sad as well as for supporting the existence of fully operational National Badminton Training Centre, Regional Badminton Association and local Badminton Clubs located here in Novi Sad’’, said Radomir Jovovic, President of the Executive Board of Badminton Association of Serbia.    

Besides the institutional support, Balkan U15 Championships – Novi Sad 2016 has also received significant help and support from the following sponsors: Tin Sped Company, Yonex, Zlatiborac Company, Aqua Gala water and Nasa Koka Plus Company. 

The medalists in Team event were: 1st place – Serbia, 2nd place – Turkey, 3rd place – Greece and Croatia.
The medalists in Individual events were: MS – 1st place (Sezgin Kelebek – Turkey), 2nd place (Sergej Lukic – Serbia), 3rd place (Hilmican Simsek and Nurullah Sarac – Turkey); WS – 1st place (Marija Sudimac – Serbia), 2nd place (Bahar Yavru – Turkey), 3rd place (Ceren Ozdemir – Turkey and Grammatoula Sotirou – Greece); MD – 1st place (Semih Baha Basakin and Sezgin Kelebek – Turkey), 2nd place (Hasan Berkay Gungbaz and Yunus Emre Karakas – Turkey), 3rd place (Matija Cupara and Mihajlo Tomic – Serbia and Georgios Orfeas Tsamouitsaidis and Georgios Tsiolis - Greece); WD – 1st place (Yasemen Bektas and Gorkem Esra Ergincan – Turkey), 2nd place (Azime Serttas and Bahar Yavru – Turkey), 3rd place (Tzvetelina Mateeva and Mihaela Zlatanova – Bulgaria and Theodora Lamprianidou and Grammatoula Sotirou - Greece); XD – 1st place (Semih Baha Basakin and Zeynep Gokcen Ergincan – Turkey), 2nd place (Hilmican Simsek and Ceren Ozdemir – Turkey), 3rd place (Sergel Lukic and Marija Sudimac – Serbia and Yunus Emre Karakas and Sel
en Ozdemir – Turkey).

Written by Badminton Association of Serbia
Belgrade, September 7, 2016
© All rights reserved.

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