On March 2nd and 3rd, 2024, the 2nd Round of the Balkan Billiard Championship took place in Skopje, North Macedonia. The tournament featured 87 participants from North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Greece, and Turkey. The host venue for the competition was Grand Club – Skopje. The first place was secured by the Greek player, George Kampourlidis, who triumphed in the final against the best player from the host country, Hristo Vasilevski, with a score of 9 to 6. Following his bronze medal in the previous round in Thessaloniki and his participation in the Euro Tour in Tallinn, George Kampourlidis once again earned a spot in the Euro Tour, scheduled for May in Austria. Joining him on this journey will be the finalist, Hristo Vasilevski. We wish them success in representing the Balkans admirably.

The third and fourth places were claimed by Sashko Dimitrov from Bulgaria, who caused a surprise by eliminating the champion from the previous round, Labinot Markaj from Kosovo, defeating Giannis Dimitriakis 9 to 2 in the round of 16 but losing to Hristo Vasilevski 5 to 9 in the semifinal. Islam Kutleshi from Kosovo continued the tradition of Kosovo always earning medals, securing a bronze medal with his victory over Ilija Dimovski from North Macedonia in the quarterfinals, winning 9 to 5. In the semifinal, Islam Kutleshi lost to the champion, George Kampourlidis, with a score of 4 to 9.

The four fourth places went to Giannis Dimitriakis from Greece, losing 2 to 9 in the quarterfinals to Sashko Dimitrov. Ylber Hyseni from Kosovo lost to George Kampourlidis 5 to 9 and finished fourth. Ilija Dimovski, one of the young hopes of North Macedonia, lost to Islam Kutleshi 5 to 9. In the most contested quarterfinal, Daniel Todorov, leading 8 to 6, lost the match for the medal to Hristo Vasilevski 8 to 9, finishing in 4th place for the second consecutive tournament. Faton Bajgora, the finalist from the previous 1st round, also exited early from the tournament, losing in the round of 16 to the young star from Bitola, North Macedonia, Ilija Dimovski, with a score of 5 to 7.

Thus, before the third round scheduled to take place in Bulgaria on May 11/12, 2024, the current rankings are led by George Kampourlidis from Greece with 970 points, followed by Labinot Markaj from Kosovo with 880 points. Faton Bajgora is in 3rd place with 780 points. Hristo Valilevski climbed to 4th place, and the first five also include Daniel Todorov from Bulgaria.

After the tournament in Bulgaria, the top 5 players from each country will be determined to represent their country at the Balkan National Teams Tournament, scheduled for September in Greece.

Alongside the men’s tournament, the 2nd round of the Junior tournaments was held, with a dominant performance from the hosts. Blendi Qazimi from North Macedonia stood above all and won the second round after defeating his teammate Andrej Gjurchinovski, also from North Macedonia, in the final with a score of 7 to 4. Third places were captured by Kosovo through the winner of the first tournament, Mal Shehu, who lost to Blendi Qazimi 4 to 7 in the semifinals, and Dijar Kutleshi, who followed in his father’s footsteps from the men’s tournament and finished in third place, losing the semifinal to Andrej Gjurchinovski 3 to 7.

The fifth places went to Petar Tsanev from Bulgaria, losing in the quarterfinals to Mal Shehu 2 to 7. Iris Gashi from Kosovo lost to the winner Blendi Qazimi with a score of 6 to 7. Lindon Sadiki from North Macedonia lost to Andrej Gjurchinovski with a score of 0 to 7. Another competitor who confirmed the dominance of the North Macedonian players in this tournament was Ilija Dimovski, who lost in the quarterfinals to Dijar Kutleshi 4 to 7.


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