by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
After having recorded a four games semi-final success against the host nation’s Emir Mujicic (11-9, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6), Filip Radovic beat Romania’s Dragos Florin Oprea (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3) to claim to the top prize. In the opposite half of the draw in the penultimate round Dragos Florin Oprea had beaten Turkey’s Tugay Sirzat Yilmaz (11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 11-4).
Gold for Filip Radovic; most pertinently gold for Gul Pembe Ozkaya was her third of the tournament.
Earlier she had joined forces with colleagues Betul Nur Kahraman and Merve Nur Ozturk to win the Junior Girls’ Team title, prior to partnering Betul Nur Kahraman to secure the Junior Girls’ Doubles top prize and Umut Emre Bassan to Junior Mixed Doubles silver.
A three-one margin of victory was the outcome against Bulgaria in the Junior Girls’ Team final with Gul Pembe Ozkaya being the one player to experience defeat. She was narrowly beaten in the opening match of the fixture by Ivet Ilieva (11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10).
However, that was the sum total of Bulgarian success. Betul Nur Kahraman levelled matters by beating Kalina Hristova (11-2, 11-3, 11-8), before Merve Nur Ozturk defeated Miroslava Andronov (11-9, 12-10, 11-3) and Gul Pembe Ozkaya returned to the table to conclude matters. She overcame Katalina Hristova in three straight games to secure the title (11-9, 11-5, 11-4).
Later in the Junior Girls’ Doubles competition it was success at the final hurdle in opposition to Romania’s Andreea Hudusan and Luiza Popescu (12-10, 11-5, 23-21), having earlier in the Junior Mixed Doubles competition experienced defeat in the final when facing colleagues Ali Can Seker and Betul Nur Kahraman (12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9).
Gold for Turkey, there was also gold for Romania. Dragos Florin Oprea joined forces with Mihai Zamfir and Mihai Nemaciuc to win the Junior Boys’ Team title, prior to reserving the top step in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event in harness with Mihai Zamfir. Notably, in both events, it was Turkish opposition that experienced defeat in the final and by narrow margins.
Hard fought tense wins for Dragos Florin Oprea; first against Bilal Selim (10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11) in the opening match of the fixture and then in the fourth when facing Tugay Sirzat Yilmaz (12-10, 10-12, 3-11, 11-9, 12-10) proved the backbone of a three-one Romanian win in the Junior Boys’ Team final. Sandwiched in between Mihai Zamfir had been beaten by Tugay Sirzat Yilmaz (11-9, 11-5, 11-4), before Mihai Nemaciuc accounted for Umut Emre Bassan (11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5) to sway the momentum in favour of Romania.
The top step of the podium reserved, later in the proceedings Dragos Florin Oprea and Mihai Zamfir beat the host nation’s Luka Mihailov and Nikola Mihailovic to secure the Junior Boys’ Team title.
Overall in the junior events, nine national associations participated: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.
26th Balkan Youth Championships 2018: Roll of Honour & Complete Results