Lithuania finish first at Parantee ChampionshipsSix men’s goalball teams had a chance to meet in Europe ahead of this summer’s World Championships. 07 May 2014
“None of our players have ever played against opponents of this standard. Playing against these teams has given them motivation to train really hard to try and make it to the top.”
Lithuania have taken their second international men’s goalball tournament victory in just as many weeks, finishing in first place at the Parantee Championships last weekend in Blankenberge, Belgium.
At tournament, which served as a warm-up for this summer’s IBSA Goalball World Championships, Lithuania cruised to a 9-4 victory over the USA and snuck out a 12-11 win against Paralympic champions Finland on the first day of action.
The top squad then recorded a 13-3 victory over the Netherlands and a 14-4 victory over Russia on the second day before tying Algeria 7-7 to start the final day. They finished the tournament with a 12-8 win against Russia.
The USA finished in second place and were followed in the final standings by Algeria, Finland, Belgium, Russia and the Netherlands, respectively.
“None of our players have ever played against opponents of this standard,” said Dutch head coach Bas Spaans. “Playing against these teams has given them motivation to train really hard to try and make it to the top.”
Finland will host the IBSA Goalball World Championships from 26 June - 7 July in Espoo, and will be looking to bounce back to form in that tournament after their disappointing fourth-place finish in Blankenberge.
“The distance between the top teams is very close,” said Finland’s top player Eki Miinala.
“We must get stronger in our team defence. We must help each other more and keep the focus better in the defence throughout the game, so we don't make personal defence mistakes.”