“There were many positive signs behind the result. There is nothing to worry about within the team."
A poor performance at the Malmo Men Intercup in Sweden last week will not deter the Finnish men’s goalball team as it prepares to compete at its home International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball European Championships, in Lahti, from 18-22 September.
Veteran player Miinala, who won the Euros in 2011 and the Paralympic gold medal at London 2012, thinks results are not important during preparation stages, which are fundamental in helping the teams test themselves against each other.
“This was our first event with a new coaching staff and we need to see behind the results,” said Miinala. “We took part in three different training camps and had intense weekly practices with our new coach, but still need to adjust certain things.
“There were many positive signs behind the result. There is nothing to worry about within the team. We do need to improve our throw variety and power, and our team defence.”
Hosts Finland will face Belgium, Great Britain, Ukraine, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenia, Lithuania and Turkey in the men’s event at the Europeans.
“Our goal is to reach the medal-matches,” said Miinala. “I’m sure that our home crowd will help us get there!”
In the women’s tournament, Finland will play against Great Britain, Ukraine, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Russia* and Turkey.
More information can be found on the competition’s website. http://www.pajulahti2017.fi/en/
*Editor’s note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games. For further information please click here: https://www.paralympic.org/russian-paralympic-committee-suspension