Baribal Pool club in Tartu, Estonia, was the first stop for the Olympic-Online Baltic Pool League 2012 I stage.
The competition was held in 9-ball in men's and women's division simultaneously. In men's division participated 58 and in women's division 15 athletes from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria.
After the first day it was down to 8 men and 4 women athletes and there were no surprises. All the main favourites were still strongly going after the title both in men's and women's division. In men's division Estonian Denis Grabe (Team Olympic-Online) dominated his quarter final match as he crushed Tomas Steponkus 7-3 and marched to semi final where he was met by a young gun from Lithuania, Tomas Mineikis. Unfortunately for Mineikis he did not had the needed gunpowder and was forced to watch as Grabe pocketed ball after ball to win the match 7-2 and clinch a place in a final.
Another hot prospect quarter final match was a match between last years first stage winner Lithuanian Marius Śiaudkulis (Team Olympic-Online) and third stage winner Kait Hinn (EST). On the contrary to the expectations Śiaudkulis took a comfortable win with a score of 7-2 and proceeded to the semi final where he needed to overcome his fellow countryman Henrikas Strolis. The match turned out as a real thriller as the winner was decided in the last frame. The Lithuanian heavyweight battle was won by Strolis when he pocketed a nice 9 ball bank shot to win 7-6.
In the final Grabe continued his dominance as he took a comfortable 2-0 lead in three minutes. Another 26 minutes and it was all over, Grabe steamed throughout the final to take another title with a score 7-2. After the rapid final Grabe commented: “I really wanted to win this event and am happy that I managed to do so. Surprisingly it was not that tough road this time, but probably this is due to the home support and surely it will not be that easy in Kaunas. It is a very well organized event and I am looking forward for the next event in Kaunas where I want to defend my last years win.“
In women's division the first semi-final was held between Anna Grintśuk (EST) and Anna Prisjaźnuka (LAT). Both Anna’s were determined to win and since Prisjaśnuka was better of Grintśuk in the earlier stage of the event the latter wanted to have revenge. And revenge it was as Grintśuk proceeded to the final with a score 6-3. In the final she met Agné Jaruśauskaite (LIT) that was better of Tatjana Vaitikiené in her semi final with a score 6-4. After a nervy final it was Jaruśauskaite that celebrated her win as the scoreboard showed her supremacy 6-3. "I am very happy that I have managed to win the first OOBPL stage. It was not easy, there were many strong girls playing, but everything turned out successfully for me. I would like to thank the organizers and supporters, as it was a great weekend, great tournament, full of mixed emotions, unrealistic and unreal atmosphere of support! I hope it works again at "home" event after few weeks in Kaunas" commented the happy winner after the final.
The organizers of the event Jüri Talu and Tomas Brikman were very content with the tournament and are already working on the next stage that is held in Kaunas, Lithuania, 26.05-27.05. "The Tartu stage was very good start for OOPBL 2012. Womens group was very competitive and it was interesting to see who is going to win it. Also there were few fantastic battles in men's division, but nobody can shake Denis Grabe‘s nerves and his game looks stone-solid at the moment. I am glad that we have moved opening stage from March to the end of April. Because of fantastic weather we all got the opportunity to spend wonderful time in city of Tartu. Looking forward to come here again next year," said Tomas Brikman after the event. Jüri Talu‘s comments were:“Well, there is hard to add something to what Tomas Brikman already said. I am very happy with the event and want to send out a special thanks to all the sponsors, supporters and related people. Especially I want to thank Mr. Rafig Adigazalov and Guido Schumann from Baribal Poolclub that were very helpful and made a great work by providing the venue for us with all tables mounted with a brand new cloth in such short notice. That shows once again that Baribal Poolclub stands not only for the business, but for the development of the pool as a sport as well. Many warm words go out to my friend Tomas Brikman that has done superb work regardless of the difficulties that we experienced by organizing the event. Anyway I am very happy the way everything worked out and supposingly it would be hard to make a better event, but we promise to try.“
The organisers thank all the sponsors of the event – Olympic-Online, Baribal Poolclub, Entry Billiard, Mezz Cues, Kamui Tips, Strachan Super Pro, Aveiras advertising agency, Barclay Hotel Tartu, Biljardai and Tieto.