Erkki Miinala was fundamental in the Finnish men’s goalball team gold medal performance at London 2012 and seeks to repeat such success at Rio 2016.
But when he is not training hard for September’s Paralympic Games, the 29-year-old can be found working as a communications professional being a transcriber or playing drums in his rock band called Free Heart.
“As in goalball, a transcriber must be able to focus on listening at all times, because you must catch and write down every word from the recordings,” he explained.
Miinala listens to different kinds of recordings, including interviews, legal proceedings and meetings, and makes a written record.
He has worked as a transcriber for six years and is allowed to work from home, thus he has more time to follow his other passions.
“I started to play drums when I was 11 years old,” he said.
“I really love 70s and 80s hard rock and heavy metal music, such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Pink Floyd.”
With less than two months to go until Rio 2016, Miinala also devotes most of his days to training.
“Most of our goalball team players remember the amazing and unique feeling that it was to win a Paralympic gold, four years ago, in London, and we definitely want to feel that again in Rio,” he said.
Finland qualified for September’s Paralympics after claiming silver at the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships.
“Time is limited, and sometimes I am really tired and frustrated because I cannot give as much as I should,” he said.
“Goalball is not just playing and training. I also organise tournaments and trainings and do promotion, which of course takes time.”
Success in Rio would give the team more resources to continue developing goalball in the future, in Finland.
“I am still very hungry and motivated to succeed in the future. We will have the European Championships next year in Finland, and I really want to win gold in front of our home crowd.”
But Miinala is already targeting further success.
“I am just reaching 30 years old, so I still have a lot of years to play goalball at a high-competitive level,” he said.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.