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NEWS
14.07.2014
World Championships in pictures
 
07.07.2014
Miller and Miinala nominated MVP’s of the World Championships
 
05.07.2014
Brazil and USA crowned World Champions
 
05.07.2014
Men Gold match: Brazil-Finland 9-1 (3-0): Interview of Alessandro Tosim
 
05.07.2014
Men Gold match: Brazil-Finland 9-1 (3-0): Interview of Timo Laitinen
 
05.07.2014
Women Gold match: USA-Russia 3-0: Interview of Jennifer and Ken Armbruster
 
05.07.2014
Men Bronze match: USA-Lithuania 4-2 (1-2): Interview of Joseph Hamilton
 
05.07.2014
Women Bronze match: Turkey-Japan 3-0: Interview of Gokhan Ince and Eren Yilbirim
 
 
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World Championships in pictures
14.07.2014

You can relive the amazing week of 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships by skimming through these pictures from on and off the court.

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Miller and Miinala nominated MVP’s of the World Championships
07.07.2014

Photo: Asya Miller

Photo: Asya Miller


USA’s Asya Miller and Finland’s Erkki Miinala were nominated as the Most Valuable Players of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Top scorers of the tournament were Turkey’s Sevda Altunoluk and Brazil’s Leomon Silva.

Asya Miller scored 12 goals in women’s tournament and was rock solid in defense as was the whole US team. They didn’t convert a single goal in their last two matches. Miller scored both goals for USA in their 2-0 semifinal victory over Japan and she opened the scoring in the final against Russia with the very first throw of the game.

Photo: Erkki Miinala

Photo: Erkki Miinala


Erkki Miinala scored 24 goals in the tournament. He threw four important goals in Finland’s 6-3 semifinal victory against USA. Miinala got power and confidence from the home audience and managed to spread the spirit to the whole Finnish team.

Photo: Sevda Altunoluk

Photo: Sevda Altunoluk


Turkey’s Sevda Altunoluk was almost unstoppable in women’s tournament. She scored 31 goals in eight matches. Russia was the only team that had a cure against Altunoluk. Turkey and Russia met twice in the tournament and Altunoluk got only one goal in those matches. In bronze medal match against Japan Altunoluk scored all three goals.

Photo: Leomon Silva

Photo: Leomon Silva


Brazil’s Leomon Silva was the phenomenon of the tournament. He scored total amount of 51 goals and the most amazing fact is that 17 of them came in last two matches, in semifinal against Lithuania (14-4) and in final against Finland (9-1).

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Brazil and USA crowned World Champions
06.07.2014

Photo: Goalball


Brazil got a tasteful revenge of Paralympic final loss to Finland in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Brazil beat Finland 9-1 (3-0) and was crowned goalball World Champions for the first time.

Brazil will host the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and they have been investing to goalball to make sure they’ll be successful there. Brazil already was in the Paralympic final in London but Finland was better that time.

In Espoo Brazil was the only team without a defeat in the tournament and won the semifinal and gold medal match with total score of 23-5. There is no doubt whatsoever they were the best team in Espoo.

Leomon Silva scored six times in the final and his total score of the tournament was 51. Romario Marques was the second best scorer in the tournament with 30 goals.

In women’s tournament United States lost three of their first four matches but managed to get back on track. They didn’t convert a single goal in semifinal and gold medal match. Asya Miller opened the scoring and Amanda Dennis scored twice when they beat Russia in a final 3-0 (2-0).

Photo: Goalball

- It’s better to start little bit rough and end the tournament well than other way around. We were very determined and focused in the defense, said Asya Miller.

This was USA’s fifth women’s World Championship medal in a row. Their last gold medal was from 2002 World Championships. With men’s bronze medal in the same day USA now has 11 World Championship medals (5 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze). They are the most successful country in the Goalball World Championship history. Finland is second with 5 medals (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze).

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Men Gold match: Brazil-Finland 9-1 (3-0): Interview of Alessandro Tosim
05.07.2014

Brazil beat Finland 9-1 (3-0) in men’s gold medal match. Here’s an interview of Brazil’s head coach Alessandro Tosim.

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Men Gold match: Brazil-Finland 9-1 (3-0): Interview of Timo Laitinen
05.07.2014

Brazil beat Finland 9-1 (3-0) in men’s gold medal match. Here’s an interview of Finland’s head coach Timo Laitinen.

Listen interview.

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Women Gold match: USA-Russia 3-0: Interview of Jennifer and Ken Armbruster
05.07.2014

USA won Russia 3-0 (2-0) in women’s gold medal match. Here’s an interview of US coach Kenneth Armbruster and player Jennifer Armbruster.

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Men Bronze match: USA-Lithuania 4-2 (1-2): Interview of Joseph Hamilton
05.07.2014

USA won Lithuania 4-2 (1-2) in men’s bronze medal match and secured a place for Rio Paralympic Games. Here’s an interview with Joseph Hamilton.

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Women Bronze match: Turkey-Japan 3-0: Interview of Gokhan Ince and Eren Yilbirim
05.07.2014

Turkey won Japan 3-0 (1-0) in women’s bronze medal match and secured a place to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Here’s an interview with Turkey’s coaches Gokhan Ince and Eren Yilbirim.

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Goalball Youth Camp was a great success
04.07.2014

Photo: Youth Camp

During the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships there has also been going on an international goalball youth camp and tournament in a school not far away from the competition venues. Young players from Finland, South Korea, Germany and Great Britain have been training together and played a tournament on Friday.

Photo: Youth Camp

The former women’s coach of Team Canada and the member of the IBSA Goalball Subcommittee Janice Dawson have given her knowledge and coaching skills to the help of young players.

Photo: Youth Camp

South Korea won the tournament before Finland, Germany and Great Britain. But the most important thing must have been the unique international experience they got that will motivate the players on their way of becoming World Championship level players themselves.

Photo: Youth Camp

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Rematch of the Paralympic final coming up on Saturday
04.07.2014

Photo: Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala

Photo: Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala


There will be a rematch from men’s Paralympic Gold medal match on Saturday as Finland and Brazil meet in a final of the 2014 IBSA World Championships. In London Finland won 8-1 but this time Brazil seems a lot stronger.

Brazil beat the reigning World Champions Lithuania 14-4 (10-2) in a semifinal match that didn’t even see it’s end as the game was cut short when Brazil took a ten goal lead. Finland won USA 6-3 (2-2) in their own semifinal.

- We haven’t met Brazil since London. They have their home Paralympic Games coming so they have invested a lot to goalball. I would say that we are challengers in tomorrow’s final, said Finnish head coach Timo Laitinen.

There will be also a new World Champion in women’s tournament because Russia beat China in quarterfinals. Russia also won their semifinal against Turkey and will meet USA in the final. USA beat Japan in their semifinal 2-0 with two goals from Asya Miller.

Saturday’s schedule
09.20 Women’s bronze match: Turkey-Japan
10.50 Men’s bronze match: Lithuania-USA
12.20 Women’s gold match: Russia-USA
13.50 Men’s gold match: Brazil-Finland

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Men Semifinal: Finland-USA 6-3: Interview of Erkki Miinala
04.07.2014

Erkki Miinala scored four goals as Finland won USA 6-3 (2-2) in men’s semifinal and got through to a gold medal match against Brazil.

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Men Quarterfinal: Lithuania-Czech Republic 11-6: Interview of Lukas Valer
04.07.2014

Lithuania beat Czech Republic 11-6 (4-2) in men’s quarterfinal. Here’s an interview of Czech’s Lukas Valer.

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Women Semifinal: Russia-Turkey 2-1: Interview of Anna Shevchenko
04.07.2014

Russia beat Turkey 2-1 (2-0) in women’s semifinal and will meet USA in Saturday’s final. Here’s an interview with Russia’s Anna Shevchenko.

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Men Quarterfinal: Finland-China 5-2: Interview of Kevin Collet
04.07.2014

Finland beat China 5-2 (2-2) in men’s quarterfinal and will meet USA in a semifinal. Here’s an interview of Finland’s assistant coach Kevin Collet.

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Finland overcame China and made it to the semifinal
04.07.2014

Photo: Erkki Miinala

Photo: Erkki Miinala


Finland’s men’s team proceed to the semifinals of the Goalball World Championships. They beat China 5-2 (2-2) in a quarterfinal. Finland will meet USA in the semifinal that starts at 6 pm in Sport Hall Tapiola.

Finland had some problems with China in the beginning of the game. China lead 2-1 until Petri Posio levelled it to 2-2 in the dying secondse of first period.

It was goalless for a long time in the second period but then Erkki Miinala’s throw got through Chinese defense three minutes before the end. Jarno Mattila made it 4-2 right after that from a penalty.

Mattila made it 5-2 with his third penalty goal of the match. Chinese couldn’t find a way to break Finnish defense so it was all over for them in this tournament.

- It was a slow start for us, but these sudden death matches are often like this. We had to be careful with our throws not to get penalties for China, said Erkki Miinala.

The top three teams of the World Championships will secure a place to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro so there’s an extra stake to a semifinal.

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Women’s Quarterfinal: Japan-Ukraine 1-0: Interview of Haruka Wakasugi
04.07.2014

Japan won Ukraine 1-0 (1-0) in women’s quarterfinal and got through to the semifinal. Here’s an interview of Haruka Wakasugi.

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Women Quarterfinal: Turkey-Israel 10-2: Interview of Limor Goldberg, Ali Tekce, Eren Yilbirim and Buket Atalay
04.07.2014

Turkey won Israel 10-2 (5-1) in women’s quarterfinal and got through to the semifinal. Here’s an interview of Israeli team leader Limor Goldberg, Turkey’s coach Ali Tekce, assistant coach Eren Yilbirim and player Buket Atalay.

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Finland’s late equalizer put them on top of their group
03.07.2014

Photo: Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala

Photo: Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala


Finland took the top spot in men’s Pool A after equalizing the match against Iran in the dying seconds to 5-5. Finland will meet China in the quarterfinal on Friday.

Czech Republic was extremely close of winning the Pool A but they had to settle for a second place after Finland’s Erkki Miinala’s late equalizer against Iran. The Czechs will meet the reigning World Champion Lithuania in the quarterfinal.

The other pairs are Brazil-Iran and Turkey-USA. Brazil and Turkey are the only teams in men’s competition without a defeat yet.

Actually Turkey don’t have a defeat in their account in the whole competition because their women’s team also got through Pool stage without losing. They topped the Pool X and will meet Israel in the quarterfinal.

China-Russia might be the most interesting pair in women’s competition. China is the reigning World Champion and Russia won the European Championships in 2013.

The other pairs are Japan-Ukraine and Brazil-USA. Brazil has been very impressive so far in the women’s competition although they did lose to China.

Women's Quarterfinals
11.00 Quarterfinal 1: Sport Hall Tapiola: Turkey-Israel
11.00 Quarterfinal 2: Sport Hall Summa: China-Russia
12.15 Quarterfinal 3: Sport Hall Tapiola: Japan-Ukraine
12.15 Quarterfinal 4: Sport Hall Summa: Brazil-USA

Men's Quarterfinals
13.30 Quarterfinal 1: Sport Hall Tapiola: Finland-China
13.30 Quarterfinal 2: Sport Hall Summa: Turkey-USA
14.45 Quarterfinal 3: Sport Hall Tapiola: Czech Republic-Lithuania
14.45 Quarterfinal 4: Sport Hall Summa: Brazil-Iran

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Men A, Spain-Ukraine 8-5: Interview of Paco Monreal
03.07.2014

Spain beat Ukraine 8-5 (2-4) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of Spain’s coach Paco Monreal.

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Men B, Japan-Belgium 9-6: Interview of Glenn Van Thournout and Yoshu Nobusawa
03.07.2014

Japan won Belgium 9-6 (2-2) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview of Belgium’s Glenn Van Thournout and Japan’s Yoshu Nobusawa.

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Women X, USA-Germany 4-3: Interview of Jennifer Armbruster
03.07.2014

USA won Germany 4-3 (3-0) in women’s Pool X. Here’s an interview of Jennifer Armbruster.

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Finnish men’s team continues an impressive run
03.07.2014

Photo: Petri Posio

Photo: Petri Posio


Finland beat USA 8-3 (5-1) in a Pool A match and will play in the quarterfinals on Friday. If Finland takes the points against Iran in their last Round Robin match on Thursday evening they’ll win the Pool A.

Finland’s playing has gotten better and better throughout the tournament. Victory over USA was fifth in a row for Finland.

- We are trying to develop our game as the tournament goes on. We have to because the matches are getting tougher, said Finland’s player Petri Posio.

Posio scored three goals as did Erkki Miinala. Jarno Mattila got two goals from penalties. Tyler Merren and Andrew Jenks scored for USA.

Finnish women’s team lost their last Round Robin match 0-4 (0-2) against Japan. Finland didn’t qualify for the quarterfinals from a tough group. Japan is the Paralympic Gold medalist from London, Russia is the European Champion from 2013, USA is a long time Goalball powerhouse and Turkey might just have been the most impressive team in the women’s tournament.

- There’s no space for explanations. We got what we deserved, said Katja Heikkinen who scored nine goals in the tournament.

- Of course we are extremely disappointed. This is not what we expected, she continued.

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Men A, Finland-USA 8-3: Interview of Andrew Jenks
03.07.2014

Finland won USA 8-3 (5-1) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of USA’s Andrew Jenks.

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Men B, Lithuania-Egypt 10-0: Interview of Hazem Zaki
03.07.2014

Lithuania beat Egypt 10-0 (6-0) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview with Egypt’s Hazem Zaki.

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Men B, China-Belgium 9-3: Interview of Tom Vanhove
03.07.2014

China won Belgium 9-3 (4-1) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview of Belgium’s Tom Vanhove.

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Women Y, Ukraine-Israel 10-8: Interview of Nataliia Miroshnyk
03.07.2014

Ukraine won Israel 10-8 (3-2) in women’s Pool Y. Here’s an interview of Ukraine’s Nataliia Miroshnyk.

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Men B, Turkey-Canada 10-4: Interview of Douglas Ripley and Gokhan Ince
03.07.2014

Turkey beat Canada 10-4 (5-1) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview of Canada’s Douglas Ripley and Turkey’s coach Gokhan Ince.

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Turkey, China and Israel still unbeaten in women’s competition
02.07.2014

Photo: Turkey’s women

Photo: Turkey’s women


Turkey, China and Israel are the only unbeaten teams left in the women’s World Championships. Especially Turkey has been very impressive so far beating Finland, Japan and USA with wide margins to top the Pool X after three playing days.

Israel and China drew in their first match on Monday and have won all their matches ever since. Brazil lost 3-4 to China on Wednesday but have been very consistent otherwise in Pool Y. Russia and Japan have been also strong in Pool X.

In men’s Pool A Finland is still on top after beating Algeria 10-3 on Wednesday. It seems that Czech Republic, USA and Iran are other strong contestants to the quarterfinals.

Turkey drew with Brazil and Lithuania on Wednesday and stayed on top of the Pool B. Brazil and Lithuania will meet each other on Thursday evening and the winner of that match is close to winning the Pool B.

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Women Y, Australia-Sweden 4-1: Interview of Nicole Esdaile
02.07.2014

Australia beat Sweden 4-1 (3-0) in women’s Pool Y. Here’s an interview of Australia’s Nicole Esdaile.

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Women X, Finland-Russia 3-4: Interview of Natalie Ball
02.07.2014

Russia won Finland 4-3 (0-0) in women’s Pool X. Here’s an interview of Finland’s Natalie Ball.

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Women Y, Brazil-China 3-4: Interview of Ana Carolina Custodio
02.07.2014

China won Brazil 4-3 (4-2) in women’s Pool Y. Here’s an interview of Brazil’s Ana Carolina Custodio.

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Men B, Lithuania-Turkey 7-7: Interview of Klaidas Janeika
02.07.2014

Lithuania and Turkey drew 7-7 (4-2) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of Lithuania’s coach Klaidas Janeika.

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Men A, Germany-Ukraine 10-5: Interview of Michael Feistle
02.07.2014

Germany won Ukraine 10-5 (7-4) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of German Michael Feistle.

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Joseph Hamilton talks about sponsors in US goalball
02.07.2014

Joseph Hamilton from United States men’s team talks about money and sponsors in US Goalball after their crucial 8-5 victory over Germany in Pool A.

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Women X, Turkey-USA 8-2: Interview of Gülsah Aktürk and Seda Yildiz
02.07.2014

Turkey beat USA 8-2 (2-1) in women’s Pool X. Here’s an interview with Turkey’s Gülsah Aktürk and Seda Yildiz.

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Men A, Czech Republic-Spain 9-4: Interview of Josef Sarkany
02.07.2014

Czech Republic won Spain 9-4 (6-1) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of Czech’s Josef Sarkany

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Men A, USA-Germany 8-5: Interview of Daryl Walker
02.07.2014

USA beat Germany 8-5 (5-1) in men’s Pool A match. Here’s an interview of Daryl Walker.

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Finland didn’t give Algeria a chance in men’s A Pool
02.07.2014

Photo: Erkki Miinala

Photo: Erkki Miinala


Finland crushed Algeria 10-3 (6-1) in Wednesday’s men’s Pool A match. Algeria was the only team without a defeat in Pool A before Wednesday.

- It was surprisingly easy. Although we did defend very well, said Erkki Miinala of Finnish team.

Jarno Mattila was the man of the match scoring six goals. Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala got two goals each. The whole Finnish team blocked numerous hard hitting shots from Algeria. Mohamed Mokrane had scored 25 times in previous four matches but got only one goal against Finland.

Finland have won four matches in a row after losing to the Czech Republic in their opening match.

Finnish women’s team had lost their first two matches and had to get the points against Germany in women’s Pool X match. Finland did played their best match so far and beat Germany 6-2 (2-1). Katja Heikkinen scored four goals. Iida Kauppila scored once and one of their goals was Germany’s own goal. Swetlana Otto scored both goals for the Germans.

- It was a must win situation for us. Quite good match although the opponent wasn’t the hardest, told Katja Heikkinen.

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Men A, Finland-Algeria 10-3: Interview of Abdelhalim Larbi
02.07.2014

Finland won Algeria 10-3 (6-1) in men’s Pool A match. Here’s an interview of Algeria’s Abdelhalim Larbi.

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Women X, Finland-Germany 6-2: Interview of Kaisu Hynninen
02.07.2014

Finland won Germany 6-2 (2-1) in women’s Pool X. Here’s an interview of Finnish player Kaisu Hynninen.

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Three teams still without a defeat in men’s competition
01.07.2014

Photo: Marius Zibolis, Lithuania

Photo: Marius Zibolis, Lithuania


Men’s Pool B has divided into two categories in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo.

Brazil, Lithuania and Turkey have won all their four matches almost without a trouble. Canada, Belgium, China and Egypt have all one win. Japan is still without points after four matches.

One of the teams in the bottom category will get a place to the quarterfinals. Top three teams can be quite sure of their place in the playoffs.

Turkey will meet both Brazil and Lithuania on Wednesday so they will be the matches to look forward to. Lithuania and Brazil meet each other on Thursday evening.

Finland climbed to the top of the men’s Pool A after winning both of Tuesday’s matches. It seems that Finland, Algeria, USA, Czech Republic, Spain and maybe Iran will be fighting for the top four positions in Pool A.

Turkey and Brazil continued their impressive run in women’s competition. Turkey beat the Paralympic gold medalist Japan 5-1 and Brazil won Sweden 7-2. Also Russia has started well. They won Germany 10-2 on Tuesday and top the Pool X with Turkey after two playing days.

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Men B, Belgium-Canada 12-6: Interview of Bruno Vanhove
01.07.2014

Belgium took their first win of the tournament beating Canada 12-6 (5-2) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview of Bruno Vanhove.

Listen interview.

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Men B, Brazil-Japan 8-1: Interview of Alessandro Tosim
01.07.2014

Brazil won Japan 8-1 (4-0) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview of Brazilian coach Alessandro Tosim.

Listen interview.

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Men A, Czech Republic-Iran 7-5: Interview of Mohammad Bedgoli
01.07.2014

Czech Republic won Iran 7-5 (3-3) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of Iran’s coach Mohammad Bedgoli

Listen interview.

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Men A, USA-Ukraine 7-5: Interview of Matthew Simpson
01.07.2014

USA won Ukraine 7-5 (5-3) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of US player Matthew Simpson.

Listen interview.

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Finnish women couldn’t hold on against USA
01.07.2014

Photo: Krista Leppänen.

Photo: Krista Leppänen.


Finnish women’s team managed to stay even with USA until the half time point of the second period. After that USA scored couple of goals in a row and took the points in Pool X with a 7-2 (1-1) victory.

In the first half USA tried to break Finnish defense from their right hand side but Iida Kauppila couldn’t be surprised. Krista Leppänen scored the 1-1 equaliser at the end of the first period and saved a penalty shortly after that.

Second period was goalless for long but then the goals started coming quickly and USA was better in the scoring competition. Amanda Dennis scored four and Asya Miller three goals for USA. Katja Heikkinen scored the second goal for Finland.

- The start was sharp for us but then the same mistakes we made yesterday against Turkey started coming back. Overall it was still a much better performance for us, said Krista Leppänen of Finnish team.

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Finnish men getting their game together
01.07.2014

Photo: Jarno Mattila.

Photo: Jarno Mattila.


Finnish men’s team continued to climb up in the Pool A standings. Finland beat Spain 3-2 (2-2) in their first match of Tuesday.

Spain had won both their previous matches 1-0 but Jarno Mattila managed to surprise their tight defense with the first throw of the match.

- It’s usually a good place to strike because the opponent might not be quite ready yet, said Mattila.

Finland started their tournament with a narrow 5-6 loss to the Czech Republic on Monday. Then they beat Ukraine 12-2 and took their second victory against Spain on Tuesday noon.

- Our playing is getting better and better. If the players stay fit it’s looking good for us, said Finnish coach Timo Laitinen.

Finland took a 3-0 lead over Spain with one goal from Mattila and two from Erkki Miinala. The Finns blocked shots perfectly until a black moment in the end when Spain got two quick goals.

- Players must have thought the match is already won, told Laitinen.

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Women Y, Brazil-Sweden 7-2: Interview of Maria Wåglund
01.07.2014

Brazil beat Sweden 7-2 (2-2) in women’s Pool Y. Here’s an interview of Sweden’s Maria Wåglund.

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Women Y, Israel-Australia 6-2: Interview of Ariel Fuerte and Jennier Blow
01.07.2014

Israel won Australia 6-2 (2-1) in women’s Pool Y. Here’s an interview of Israeli coach Ariel Fuerte and Australian player Jennier Blow.

Listen interview.

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Men A, Algeria-Germany 7-7: Interview of Johannes Gynther
01.07.2014

Algeria and Germany drew 7-7 (5-6) in men’s Pool A. Here’s an interview of Germany’s coach Johannes Gynther.

Listen interview.

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Women Y, Ukraine-China 1-5: Interview of Tetiana Govorukha
01.07.2014

China won Ukraine 5-1 (1-0) in women’s Pool Y match. Here’s an interview of Ukraine’s Tetiana Govorukha.

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Brazil and Turkey shined both in men’s and women’s tournament
30.06.2014

Photo: Gülsah Aktürk, Turkey.

Photo: Gülsah Aktürk, Turkey.


It was a great day for Brazil and Turkey in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Both countries won all of their three matches. Brazil beat Belgium 7-3 and China 14-6 in men’s Pool B and also won Australia 9-5 in women’s Pool Y.

Turkey performed outstandingly in their opening match in women’s Pool X beating host Finland 12-2. Those same countries met in the 2013 European Championship semifinal and nobody could have guessed that the rematch would be so uneven. The Turkish men beat China 8-6 and Belgium 6-4 in men’s Pool B.

Spain has had the tightest defense so far in men’s competition. They managed to take two 1-0 wins and didn’t concede a single goal against USA and Germany in men’s Pool A.

Algeria’s start was very sleepy in men’s Pool A. They were 2-7 down against Ukraine on half time but climbed back to the game and took the points 10-7. In their second match of the day Algeria beat Czech Republic 7-5. That might have been a crucial win in a fight for the top spot of the Pool A.

Lithuania took the top spot in Pool B winning Japan 9-7 and Canada 13-3.

In the women’s competition there were two top quality matches. In Pool X Russia overcame USA 3-0 with Anastasiia Mazur scoring all of the goals. In Pool Y China and Israel played the only draw of the day with game ending 4-4.

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Men B, Japan-Egypt 9-10: Interview of Mahmoud El Dawady
30.06.2014

Egypt won Japan 10-9 (8-4) in men’s Pool B. Here’s an interview of Egypts doctor Mahmoud El Dawady.

Listen interview.

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Men B, Belgium-Turkey 4-6: Interview of Bruno Vanhove
30.06.2014

Belgium lost their lead against Turkey and ended losing 4-6 (4-3). Here’s an interview with Bruno Vanhove of Belgium.

Listen interview.

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Men A, Finland-Ukraine 12-2: Interview of Erkki Miinala
30.06.2014

Erkki Miinala scored five goals as Finland beat Ukraine 12-2 (6-2) in men’s Pool A.

Listen interview.



Women X, Finland-Turkey 2-12: Interview of Kaisu Hynninen
30.06.2014

Finland lost 2-12 (0-8) to Turkey in the women’s Pool X match. Here’s an interview of Finnish player Kaisu Hynninen.

Listen interview.



Women X, Japan-Germany 2-1: Interview of Akiko Adachi
30.06.2014

Akiko Adachi scored both goals when Japan won Germany 2-1 (2-1) in their opening match in women’s Pool X.

Listen interview.



Men A, Finland-Czech Republic 5-6: Interview of Lukas Valer
30.06.2014

Lukas Valer scored five times when Czech Republic won Finland 6-5 (4-4) in men’s Pool A.

Listen interview.



Turkey crushed Finland in women’s pool X
30.06.2014

Photo: Goalball players.


It was somewhat horrifying start for Finnish women in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Turkey beat Finland 12-2 (8-0) in women’s pool X match. The match was interrupted before the end after Turkey took a ten goal lead.

- It didn’t felt bad but still we couldn’t do anything right. Maybe we were too relaxed, wondered Katja Heikkinen of Finnish women’s team.

Turkey is one of the medal candidates in the World Championships. Finland and Turkey have met many times recently but still Turkey managed to surprise the Finns. Heikkinen gave credit to a strong opponent.

- They have one astonishingly good thrower, Sevda Altunoluk who scored six times against us, said Heikkinen.

Heikkinen knows what Finland have to do better on Tuesday when they meet USA.

- Everything. Our defense leaked from everywhere, regardless who were on the court.



Finnish men suffered a narrow defeat against the Czechs
30.06.2014

Photo: Petri Posio.

Photo: Petri Posio.


Finnish men’s team started their campaign in 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships with narrow 5-6 (4-4) loss to the Czech Republic. Finland couldn’t find a cure for Lukas Valer who scored five goals for the Czechs.

- It’s a pity we couldn’t get the points. It was so close. We made some silly mistakes in defense and had few off the post throws, said Petri Posio of Finnish men’s team.

Czech Republic is one of the favorites in men’s tournament and has been a very difficult opponent for the Finns lately.

- The Czechs got lots of variations in their throws and they have some tall guys blocking the goal. It’s a very good team, told Posio.

Posio scored two goals in the match as did Jarno Mattila. Erkki Miinala got one goal. Valer was the hero for the Czechs with five goals. Jan Bosek scored once.



Men A, Iran-Germany 10-2: Interview of Johannes Gynther
30.06.2014

Iran beat Germany 10-2 (5-1) in men’s Pool A match. Here’s an interview of Germany’s coach Johannes Gynther

Listen interview.



Men A, Algeria-Ukraine 10-7: Interview of Abdelhalim Larbi
30.06.2014

Abdelhalim Larbi’s Algeria came back after trailing 2-7 on half time against Ukraine in men’s Pool A. The final score was 10-7 to Algeria.

Listen interview.



Men A, USA-Spain 0-1: Interview of Roman Martinez
30.06.2014

Roman Martinez scored the only goal of the game as Spain won USA 1-0 (0-0) in men’s pool A match.

Listen interview.



The opening ceremony was vibrant and cheerful
30.06.2014

Photo: The opening ceremony started with the march of the teams.

Photo: The opening ceremony started with the march of the teams.


There were all the aspects of the successful sporting event opening ceremony in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships opening on Sunday: short and concise speeches, excellent music and cheerful audience. From Monday on it’s all about business when the tournament kicks off at 9 o’clock in both venues: Sport Hall Tapiola and Sport Hall Summa.

The opening ceremony was held in the Sello Hall in Leppävaara, Espoo. The core of the event was live music performed by Iiris Aittola and Mikko Herranen. Aittola is a goalball Paralympic Gold medalist from Barcelona 1992. Herranen has some goalball background also but he is most known of his success in the Voice of Finland television program in 2012.

Photo: Iiris Aittola ja Mikko Herranen.

Photo: Iiris Aittola ja Mikko Herranen.


The duo performed music for every taste: from Finnish tango to a touching version of Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years. The audience consisted of goalball players and staff from all over the World was thrilled.

Matti Kaksonen and Silja Rantala, a dancing duo that has been successful in international Latin dance competitions, performed a vibrant dance act. The Mayor of host city Espoo, Jukka Mäkelä gave speech as did the chairman of the Organizing Committee Johanna Ikäheimo and Esmeray Kontu who gave the Volunteers’ Oath.

Photo: Matti Kaksonen and Silja Rantala.

Photo: Matti Kaksonen and Silja Rantala.


The Goalball World Championships also received the Golden Baton of Clean Sport from its’ previous holders World Rallycross Championships held in Kouvola. The Golden Baton is part of the Finnish Antidoping Agency FINADA’s work on behalf of clean sport and against doping.



Host Finland is one of the many medal contenders
29.06.2014

Photo: Iida Kauppila

Photo: Iida Kauppila


2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships kick starts on Monday. The World Champions will be known on Saturday 5th of July. Host country Finland is one of the medal contenders both in men’s and women’s competition but there are numerous other possible medalists too.

– There are at least six teams in men’s competition that are capable of winning the title, says Finnish men’s team head coach Timo Laitinen.

Finnish men won Gold in the London Paralympic Games 2012. However coach Laitinen says that in his opinion the Czech Republic is the favorite number one in Espoo. Finland and Czech Republic will meet in their opening match on Monday at 12 o’clock Finnish time.

In women’s tournament the Asian giants Japan and China were in the Paralympic final. Since USA is also one of the top teams in the World it is very possible that the championship might go outside Europe.

Finnish women have been consistent in the previous championships. They finished fourth both in London and in the 2013 European Championships so it is quite possible that they can take a medal from their home tournament.

– The top three countries from the World Championships get a place for the 2016 Paralympic Games and we have a great desire to get there, says Iida Kauppila from Finnish women’s team.

There are total 102 matches played during six playing days (30.6.–5.7.) in two venues: Sport Hall Tapiola and Sport Hall Summa.



This is how to follow the World Championships
28.06.2014

It’s easy to keep updated on what is happening in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo, even though you couldn’t make it in Finland. Here’s how it works:

A) Watch matches live on the net

All 53 matches played in Sport Hall Tapiola, the main venue of the Games, are broadcasted live on the net. The address for the stream isn’t the same every day. Here are the links for the stream for each day:

Monday 30th June from 9.00 to 20.00 (in Finnish time)
areena.yle.fi/tv/2316270

Tuesday 1st July from 9.00 to 20.00
areena.yle.fi/tv/2316272

Wednesday 2nd July from 9.00 to 19.00
areena.yle.fi/tv/2316273

Thursday 3rd July from 9.00 to 20.00
areena.yle.fi/tv/2316274

Friday 4th July from 11.00 to 19.00
areena.yle.fi/tv/2316275

Saturday 5th July from 9.20 to 15.00
areena.yle.fi/tv/2316276

B) Follow this website

The results, pool tables and the top scorers will be updated to the competition website. You can also find the freshest news, overviews and reports together with audio interviews. Naturally there’s also the whole competition schedule, list of players and all the other information about the Games.

C) Follow Facebook and Twitter

The results of the World Championships might be updated even faster in Facebook and Twitter than in competition website. There are also pictures of the Games in Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Goalball2014

Twitter: twitter.com/goalballchamps (@goalballchamps, hashtag is #GoalballWC2014)



Welcome party was a suitable ending for the first day
28.06.2014

Photo: Live music, food and meeting old friends was the schedule for the Welcome party.

Photo: Live music, food and meeting old friends was the schedule for the Welcome party.


The first actual day of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships, Friday 27th June, was all about classifications, training and getting to know the competition venues. The crown of the day was the Welcome party arranged in Sello Hall, Leppävaara. Most of the teams were represented in the Welcome party alongside classifiers, referees and the Organizing Committee.

The City of Espoo hosted the Welcome Party. Martti Merra, the Sports and Youth Director of Espoo said the opening words. Also the chairman of the organization behind the Games, Finnish Sport Association of Persons with Disabilities, Pekka Hätinen gave speech in the event.

Photo: Brazilian Carla Da Mata is one of the referees in the World Championships.

Photo: Brazilian Carla Da Mata is one of the referees in the World Championships.


Classifications and training continue all weekend. Every team gets a chance to train once in both competition venues: Sport Hall Tapiola and Sport Hall Summa.

The matches start on Monday at 9 am (Finnish time). The men’s of USA and Spain kick off the Games in Sport Hall Tapiola and the men’s of Brazil and Belgium start in Sport Hall Summa.



The first signs of the World Championships emerged at the airport
28.06.2014

Photo: Brazil and Belgium with the first breath of Finnish air.

Photo: Brazil and Belgium with the first breath of Finnish air.


Thursday 26th June was the day when the first signs of a great sport event emerged, at least in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The most of the members of the 28 best goalball teams in the World arrived in Finland, where the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships take place.

All the teams accommodate in Hotel Sello Glo, located in Leppävaara, Espoo. The hotel is booked entirely for the goalball players and the team staff during the World Championships. It’s a short and smooth trip from Leppävaara to the competition venues in Tapiola area.

Photo: The Organizing Committee had it’s own Welcome desk at the airport.

Photo: The Organizing Committee had it’s own Welcome desk at the airport.






Every match from Hall A broadcasted live in the web
24.06.2014

Every match from Sport Hall Tapiola (Hall A) in 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships will be broadcasted live via Finnish National Television (YLE) sport website. So each of the 28 teams in the Games will get at least two matches that can be watched from the web.

There is no direct link to the stream yet but it can be found from here when the Games start: http://areena.yle.fi/tv/urheilu

“Maalipallo” is the Finnish word for goalball so that might help you find the right stream once the Games are on.

From the Schedule section of this website you’ll find the matches that are played in Sport Hall Tapiola.



Welcome Manual of the World Championships published
16.06.2014

The official Welcome Manual of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships is published. Welcome Manual is a comprehensive information package of the Games for the teams. Everything from lunch and dinner menus to training schedules is included.

Welcome manual



Finland wishes to repeat the success of 1994
13.06.2014

Photo: Finnish men’s and women’s gold medal teams in the 1994 World Championships in Colorado Springs.

Photo: Finnish men’s and women’s gold medal teams in the 1994 World Championships in Colorado Springs.


Finland was a goalball powerhouse in the 1990s. Both Finnish men and women were repeatedly at the podium in various championships. Success peaked in the 1994 World Championships in Colorado Springs where the Finns celebrated gold medals both in men’s and women’s tournament.

– It was pretty awesome to get ready for our gold medal match knowing that women’s team had just won their own final. We beat Italy, a team that we had lost narrowly in the final of the Paralympic Games 1992, says Juha Oikarainen, a leading player of the men’s team that time.

That was a second gold medal for the men’s team in their strike of three gold medals. They had won European Championships in 1993 and took gold in the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta.

Finnish women were even more successful in the 90s. They won three European Championships in a row (-93, -97, -99), two World Championships in a row (-94, -98) and the Paralympic Games in 1992. There was only one little slip in their way: a silver medal in the 1996 Paralympics.

You really can’t blame Tarja Pelkonen – a member of the multi time championship winning team – for not remembering exactly what happened in the final day of the World Championships 1994.

– We went through so many Games. It’s hard to remember the matches. I remember the little mishaps better. For example in Colorado Springs we had a fire alarm at the first night in our accommodation, tells Pelkonen.



Finnish National TV to broadcast World Championships
03.06.2014

Finnish National Broadcast Company (Yle) broadcasts 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Matches from Sport Hall Tapiola can be followed via internet, from Yle Areena service. At the start of the tournament the matches are broadcasted without commentary and at the final matches there will be a Finnish commentary. The gold medal matches are broadcasted in Yle TV2 television channel and at least men’s final will be live coverage.

All the matches from Sport Hall Tapiola are viewed in Yle Areena and they will be available for foreign viewers also. More exact details about the broadcasts are published closer to the Games.

Because of the live television coverage the matches of the final day (Saturday 5th July) will be moved 40 minutes earlier than originally planned. Women’s bronze match will start at 09.20 (Finnish time), men’s bronze match at 10.50, women’s gold match at 12.20 and men’s gold match at 13.50.



Australia to replace Iran in women’s tournament
27.05.2014

Australia will replace Iran in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships women’s tournament. Australia will play in pool Y alongside Ukraine, Sweden, Israel, China and Brazil.

Australia finished fourth in 2013 Asia-Pacific Championships, behind China, Japan and Iran. Although they took an unusual route to the World Championships Australia is far from being a pushover in the Games. In Asia-Pacific Championships they drew once with the reigning World Champions China and once won the Paralymic Gold medalist Japan.



World Championships promoted in the Tapiola Summer Opening
26.05.2014

Photo: World Championships promoted in the Tapiola Summer Opening

IBSA Goalball World Championships were at the spotlight in the Tapiola Summer Opening 24th May in Espoo. Sun was shining and lots of people were on the move so it was a perfect day to promote the World Championships.

The Games are held 30th June to 5th July in Sport Hall Tapiola and Sport Hall Summa situated near the Tapiola centum where the Summer Opening was arranged. Some of the local people that visited the Goalball promoting spot were already familiar with the upcoming Games. There were also a possibility to try Goalball yourself.

Finnish women national team coach Heikki Juvonen was promoting the World Championships in the Tapiola Summer Opening together with Hannele Pöysti and Viivi Kuja-Kyyny from the Organizing Committee of the Games.



Public transportation is the easiest way to get to the competition arena
25.05.2014

There are excellent public transportation connections to the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships venues. Most convenient way to get to the Tapiola area from Helsinki is by bus. The lines 105, 107, 109 and 110 from Kamppi centrum in the middle of Helsinki take you near the competition venues.

It is easy to find a way to get to the Games by using Helsinki Region Transport’s Journey Planner.

Public transportation is an environmental choice. It also makes moving in and out from competition venues smoother.



Referees chosen for the World Championships
14.05.2014

The referees for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships have been chosen. There will be 19 referees from five continents in Espoo.

– It’s great we managed to get referees from so many different continents. We would have wanted more female referees though, said Kari Räsänen, the Competition Manager of the World Championships and the Sport Director of IBSA Goalball Committee.

Total of 28 teams take part in the World Championships. There will be 102 matches in six days during the Games. That means there must be more referees than for example in the Paralympic Games.

– Choosing the referees was quite hard because the Goalball rules have changed recently, Räsänen told.

Referees for the World Championships
Aurora Zanolin, Italy
Anthony Connolly, USA
Bulent Kimyon, Turkey
Carla Da Mata, Brazil
Claude Degenais, Canada
Dina Murdie, UK
Frederic Patenaude, Canada
Jarmo Lehtola, Finland
Johan D’haese, Belgium
Juha Vuokila, Finland
Reza Dehghan, Iran
Sivert Sivertsen, Sweden
Yoshinori Nii, Japan
Daniel Zonzini, Brazil
Balint Benko, Hungary
Raquel Aguado, Spain
Vilma Venckutonyte, Lithuania
Yasser El Gendy, Egypt



IBSA Goalball advertising guidelines on uniforms
09.05.2014

IBSA Goalball working group has given some additional information regarding placement of sponsor logos on competition apparel to be worn at the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships.

Although IBSA is not specifically following IPC guidelines for placement of manufacturer and sponsor items on your uniforms, the IBSA philosophy is similar to the IPC’s ensuring the national identity of the athlete is recognized first and foremost, while also respecting the contributions of team sponsors and sporting goods manufacturers.

With this in mind IBSA Goalball working group believes the following guidelines should be maintained for competition wear. The guidelines define the size of the manufacturer’s identification and sponsor’s trademarks or other designs, which are different. Sponsor’s trademarks or other designs cannot exceed in jerseys 300 cm2 or in pants 100 cm2.

– 1 brand logo or identification per garment. Logos will not be located on the collar, neck or trouser crotch or seat areas.

– 1 National Federation logo per garment. Logos will not be located on the collar, neck or trouser crotch or bench seat areas.

– Although the IPC does not permit sponsor logos, IBSA will permit 1 sponsor logo in addition to the brand logo.





Finland named squad for the World Championships
06.05.2014

Photo: Krista Leppänen and Katja Heikkinen

Photo: Krista Leppänen and Katja Heikkinen


Host country Finland named squads for the IBSA Goalball World Championships. Finland aims for the glory with a mixture of experience and young talent.

There are four players in men’s World Championships squad – Erkki Miinala, Petri Posio, Jarno Mattila and Toni Alenius – that won the Paralympic Gold medals in London 2012. Eetu Eronen represents the youth whereas Petteri Peitso – a multi time medalist in shot put and discus – brings pure throwing strength to the team.

Four players in women’s team – Katja Heikkinen, Kaisu Hynninen, Iida Kauppila and Krista Leppänen – were part of the fourth placed Team Finland in London 2012. Natalie Ball has represented both Great Britain and Germany in goalball before getting Finnish citizenship couple of years ago. Kauppila and Raisa Kuusela are the young talents of the team.

Finland has been a part of the Worlds goalball elite for a long time but there has been 16 years already since the latest Finnish World Championship medal. Finnish women’s team took gold in 1998. The Finns are eager to get back to the podium in their home soil.

The job won’t be easy, though. There are more and more teams from around the World in both men’s and women’s competition that are capable of winning the title.

– China is definitely one of the top teams in women’s competition but you can’t count out us, Russia and USA. Also Turkey and Japan will be tough to beat in Espoo, said Katja Heikkinen of Finnish women’s team.

Team Finland for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships

Men
Players
Toni Alenius
Eetu Eronen
Jarno Mattila
Erkki Miinala
Petteri Peitso
Petri Posio
Coaches
Timo Laitinen
Kevin Collet
Team leader / Physio
Jarno Peltovako

Women
Natalie Ball
Katja Heikkinen
Kaisu Hynninen
Iida Kauppila
Raisa Kuusela
Krista Leppänen
Coaches
Heikki Juvonen
Maarit Lehto



IBSA Goalball World Championships presents:
Sport Plaza – music, food, competitions, sports…

14.04.2014

Photo: Sport Plaza


Sport Plaza of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships is an outdoor event area located right next to the competition venues. Sport Plaza is open during the last four competition days (2.–5.7.).

In Sport Plaza you can try goalball yourself: What it is like to try to catch the ball without seeing it. There are also numerous other activities such as wheelchair rugby, floorball, climbing wall and different competitions.

Music is played and you can enjoy fresh salads and smoothies in a pop-up restaurant (4.–5.7.). Sport Plaza is an excellent place to get some fresh air before the next match you plan to watch.

Further information about Sport Plaza: Timo Pelkonen, timo.pelkonen@vammaisurheilu.fi



Book your tickets to the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships
18.03.2014

Photo: Goalball player

Tickets for the last two game days (4.–5.7.) for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo, Finland are now available.

There’s a free entrance for the round robin matches (30.6.–3.7.). The ticket costs 20 euros and covers entry to both of the last two game days. Quarterfinals and semifinals are played on Friday 4th of July and medal matches on Saturday 5th of July.

You can pick your tickets from the competition venue during the World Championships.

When ordering you should mention your whole name, your e-mail address and the number of tickets you wish to get.

Ticket orders: Anu Boman, anu.boman@vammaisurheilu.fi

Further information: Hannele Pöysti, hannele.poysti@vammaisurheilu.fi



Changes for the quarterfinal and semifinal schedule
16.02.2014

The organizing committee of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships have decided to make small changes for the match schedule. The quarterfinals and semifinals on July 4th have been rescheduled for to start two hours later than in the original match schedule. Check the new schedule for July 4th below.

Friday 4th July
Men
13.30 Sport Hall Tapiola: quarter final 1, A1–B4
13.30 Sport Hall Summa: quarter final 2, B2–A3
14.45 Sport Hall Tapiola: quarter final 3, A2–B3
14.45 Sport Hall Summa: quarter final 4, B1–A4
18.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: semi final 1, winner qf1–winner qf2
18.00 Sport Hall Summa: semi final 2, winner qf3–winner qf4
Women
11.00 Sport Hall Tapiola, quarter final 1, X1–Y4
11.00 Sport Hall Summa, quarter final 2, Y2–X3
12.15 Sport Hall Tapiola, quarter final 3, X2–Y3
12.15 Sport Hall Summa, quarter final 4, Y1–X4
16.30 Sport Hall Tapiola: semi final 1, winner qf1–winner qf2
16.30 Sport Hall Summa: semi final 2, winner qf3–winner qf4



International training camp and tournament for young goalball players
07.02.2014

Photo: Goalball player

During the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo, Finland, there will be an international training camp and tournament held for young goalball players. Young players will have a great opportunity to practice in international atmosphere and also to see the medal games of the World Championships.

The camp will be held from July 2 to July 6 2014 in Espoo near the competition venues.

Location: Tapiola, Espoo, Finland

Cost: 200 € per person, including the whole package (food, school accommodation, training, transport from and to the airport and tickets to the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships medal games).

First entry: 17th April 2014 (entry form can be found from the Info-section of the website)

For more information please contact:
Mr. Timo Pelkonen
Email: timo.pelkonen@vammaisurheilu.fi
Phone: +358 50 596 5015



Match schedule for the World Championships published
04.02.2014

The full schedule for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships is published. There will be total 102 top quality goalball matches during the six match days (30.6.–5.7.). The matches will be played in two venues in Espoo: Sport Hall Tapiola and Sport Hall Summa.

The first match for home team Finland will be against Czech Republic in men’s tournament, starting on Monday 30th June at 12 o’clock (UTC +3h on summer time) in Sport Hall Tapiola. Czech Republic beat Finland in the Pajulahti Games final earlier this year. Finnish women’s first match will be against Turkey, 2013 European Championships silver medalist, starting at 14 o’clock in Sport Hall Tapiola.

The first four match days are dedicated to round robin matches. Finnish men will meet Czech Republic, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, Algeria, USA and Iran in pool A. Finnish women play against Turkey, USA, Germany, Russia and Japan in pool X.

Quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled on Friday 4th July. Medal matches are played on Saturday 5th July.

Previous goalball World championships were played in Sheffield, UK in 2010. Lithuania won the men’s title before China and Iran. China was crowned as women’s champion before USA and Sweden. Finnish women were fifth. Men’s team wasn’t among the participants.

Pools
Men
Pool A:
Algeria, Spain, Iran, Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA
Pool B: Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Japan, Canada, China, Lithuania, Turkey
Women
Pool X:
Japan, Germany, Finland, Turkey, USA, Russia
Pool Y: Brazil, Iran, Israel, China, Sweden, Ukraine

Matches of Team Finland and the playoffs

Monday 30th June
Men, Pool A
12.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Finland–Czech Republic
16.00 Sport Hall Summa: Finland–Ukraine
Women Pool X
14.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Finland–Turkey

Tuesday 1st July
Men, Pool A
12.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Spain–Finland
16.00 Sport Hall Summa: Finland–Germany
Women, Pool X
13.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: USA–Finland

Wednesday 2nd July
Men, Pool A
10.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Finland–Algeria
Women, Pool X
09.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Finland–Germany
18.00 Sport Hall Summa: Finland–Russia

Thursday 3rd July
Men, Pool A
14.00 Sport Hall Summa: USA–Finland
19.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Iran–Finland
Women, Pool X
13.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: Japan–Finland

Friday 4th July
Men
13.30 Sport Hall Tapiola: quarter final 1, A1–B4
13.30 Sport Hall Summa: quarter final 2, B2–A3
14.45 Sport Hall Tapiola: quarter final 3, A2–B3
14.45 Sport Hall Summa: quarter final 4, B1–A4
18.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: semi final 1, winner qf1–winner qf2
18.00 Sport Hall Summa: semi final 2, winner qf3–winner qf4
Women
11.00 Sport Hall Tapiola, quarter final 1, X1–Y4
11.00 Sport Hall Summa, quarter final 2, Y2–X3
12.15 Sport Hall Tapiola, quarter final 3, X2–Y3
12.15 Sport Hall Summa, quarter final 4, Y1–X4
16.30 Sport Hall Tapiola: semi final 1, winner qf1–winner qf2
16.30 Sport Hall Summa: semi final 2, winner qf3–winner qf4

Saturday 5th July
Men
11.30 Sport Hall Tapiola: bronze medal match
14.30 Sport Hall Tapiola: gold medal match
Women
10.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: bronze medal match
13.00 Sport Hall Tapiola: gold medal match

Whole schedule: http://www.goalball2014.fi/index.php?page=schedule



President Niinistö is the official patron of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships
30.01.2014

The president of Finland Sauli Niinistö will be an official patron of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships held in Espoo, Finland from 26th June to 6th July.

Finnish Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities arranges the Goalball World Championships for the first time in Finland. The matches will be played in two venues, Sport Hall Tapiola and Summa Hall located in Tapiola Sport Center area in Espoo. The first match day is June 30th and the medal matches will be played July 5th.

Finnish men’s team is the reigning Paralympic gold medalist and will be one of the strongest medal candidates in the Worlds. Finnish women’s team is strong as well. They finished fourth in the Paralympic Games 2012. There will be total 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams from all over the World excluding Oceania in the World Championships.



Official clothing for the World Championships launched
23.01.2014

The official clothing for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships is launched. Volunteers and other officials excluding referees will be wearing these clothes during the Games.

Official clothing for the World Championships launched



Some serious goalball quality in Pajulahti Games 2014
13.01.2014

The Pajulahti Games 2014 goalball tournament – held in Nastola, Finland 17.–19.1. – will be the first rehearsal of the year for some of the teams participating in 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo, Finland.

All six teams in Pajulahti Games women’s tournament will also be in the World Championships. USA, Russia, Sweden, Israel, Finland and Turkey all represent the best part of the goalball playing world.

Men’s tournament in Pajulahti is tough as well. Lithuania, Algeria, Finland and Czech Republic will be playing in the Worlds. Lithuania have won the last World Championships and European Championships, Finland was number one in the IBSA World Games 2011 and in the Paralympic Games 2012 and Algeria is the reigning African champion.

Czech Republic was one of the most impressive teams in European Championships although they lost to Germany in the quarter final. Sweden and Russia are also participating in Pajulahti Games men’s tournament.

“Pajulahti Games have been a tournament of good quality every year and this year makes no difference. In my opinion Lithuania and Czech Republic are our toughest opponents in the World Championships, at least from Europe,” says Jarno Mattila from the Finnish men’s team.

You can follow Pajulahti Games goalball tournament via Web-tv that you’ll find from the Pajulahti Games website. There you can also find the full schedule of the Games and the rosters of participating teams.

www.pajulahtigames.fi

Here are the matches broadcasted via Web-tv (Finnish time, UTC +2h)

Friday 17th January
09.00 Lithuania–Finland, Men
10.00 Sweden–Russia, Men
14.00 Finland–Czech Republic, Men
15.00 Algeria–Sweden, Men
17.00 Czech Republic–Russia, Men
18.00 Algeria–Finland, Men
19.00 Lithuania–Sweden, Men

Saturday 18th January
09.00 Turkey–Finland, Women
10.00 Israel–USA, Women
11.00 Sweden–Russia, Women
14.00 Sweden–Finland, Men
15.00 Lithuania–Czech Republic, Men

Sunday 19th January
13.00 Final, Women
14.00 Final, Men



The pools for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships are drawn
10.12.2013

Finland will host the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships from 26th June to 6th July in Espoo. The pool draw for the Games was arranged on 10th December in Helsinki.

Photo: Kari Marklund, the Chairman of the IBSA Goalball subcommittee, performed the draw.

Photo: Kari Marklund, the Chairman of the IBSA Goalball subcommittee, performed the draw.


Total of 16 men’s teams qualified for the World Championships. They were drawn into two pools. The Paralympic gold medalist Finland will face Algeria, Iran, USA, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and Czech Republic in pool A. There was a rule in men’s draw that the champion and the runner-up from a same IBSA region couldn’t be drawn into same pool.

Women’s competition consist 12 teams. Host Finland will face Japan, Russia, USA, Turkey and Germany in pool X. The top four teams from each pool will advance to the quarter finals.

“Tough group. There’s for example the reigning Paralympic champion Japan and the European Champion Russia and runner-up Turkey,” said Heikki Juvonen, the head coach of Finnish women’s team.

All in all there will be 28 teams from 20 countries in Espoo next summer. All the continents are represented except for Oceania.

“Goalball is a global sport. It is played in almost hundred countries around the World. These twenty countries are the elite”, said Kari Marklund, the Swedish chairman of the IBSA Goalball subcommittee, who performed the draw.

Pools for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships

Men

Pool A
Finland
Algeria
Iran
USA
Spain
Germany
Ukraine
Czech Republic

Pool B
Brazil
Turkey
Lithuania
Canada
Egypt
Japan
China
Belgium


Women

Pool X
Japan
Finland
Russia
USA
Turkey
Germany

Pool Y
China
Sweden
Iran
Brazil
Ukraine
Israel

Round robin is played from 30th June to 3rd July. The quarter finals and semi finals are played on 4th July and the medal matches on 5th July.



Both Iranian teams qualified for the Worlds
18.11.2013

Iran had double celebrations in IBSA Goalball Asia/Oceania Championships in Beijing. Iranian men won the tournament and qualified for the 2014 Goalball World Championships.

Also Iranian women qualified for the Worlds as they finished third behind Japan and China who were already qualified. Japanese men secured their place for the Worlds although Iran beat them in the final.

There are only one qualification tournament left. African Championships are played 2nd to 7th December in Nairobi, Kenya. The top two men’s teams and the winner of the women’s tournament (if there is such) will qualify for the Worlds.

After Nairobi the Ratio formula places are given to the teams that did well in qualification tournaments but didn’t quite qualify. Germany and Czech Republic in men’s and Turkey and Israel in women’s for example are close to getting through.



Three European teams secured their spots in the 2014 World Championships
13.11.2013

Lithuania and Spain in men’s tournament and Russia in women’s tournament secured their place in the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Lithuania and Russia were crowned as European Champions in Konya, Turkey. Spain finished second in men’s tournament.

Finland and Turkey in men’s and Finland and Sweden in women’s were already qualified for the 2014 Worlds before the EC. Swedish women’s team won Paralympic bronze medals in London but was now relegated to European B-level. That won’t take their World Championships spot away though.

There will be some other European teams in the 2014 Worlds through so called Ratio formula rule. After the two remaining regional championships – Asia/Oceania and Africa – are played the rest of the places will be filled and at least few of the places will go to European teams that did well in EC.

IBSA Asia/Oceania Championships started in Beijing, China 13th November. China and Japan have already qualified for the 2014 Worlds in women’s tournament so the remaining place will go to either Australia or Iran.

There are no Asian or Oceanian teams qualified for men’s tournament in 2014 Worlds so the regional champion and silver medalist will qualify for Espoo. China, Australia, Iran, Japan, Mongolia and Thailand are competing for the spots. China and Iran are the favorites.

The African Championships is held from 2nd to 7th December in Nairobi, Kenya.



Video analysis is “the secret weapon” of Finnish goalball team
28.10.2013

Finland has some talented goalball players and excellent coaches, but there’s also one other thing that might give them edge over opponents in the tightest matches. The Finnish Research Institute for Olympic Sports (KIHU) has made video analysis for Finnish national teams for past six years with a support from Finnish Paralympic Committee.

Like many times before, two guys from KIHU – Mikko Häyrinen and Henri Lehto – are travelling to the IBSA Goalball European Championships in Turkey from 1st to 10th November.

“Our most important task is to scout the future opponents of Finnish national teams. With a help of our video analysis program we give material about the opponents’ throws, conceded goals, penalties and so on… about the things that may be beneficial for the Finnish teams”, says Henri Lehto from KIHU.

During the past two and a half years Finnish men’s team has won 2011 IBSA World Games, 2011 European Championships and 2012 London Paralympic Games. Finnish women’s team has also established their place among top teams of the World. The help of the video analysis has been indisputable.

“It is a big help for a coach not to have to sit the whole day in the audience and watch your opponents matches. With video analysis I can watch them compactly in the evening in my hotel room, says Timo Laitinen, the head coach of Finnish men’s team.

Laitinen used to coach both men and women, but after Paralympic Games Heikki Juvonen took charge of the women’s team and Laitinen could concentrate solely on men’s team. Juvonen is a young coach and European Championships are he’s first big challenge as a head coach of women’s team.

Photo: Heikki Juvonen (on the right) will make his championship debut as a head coach of Finnish women’s team. Timo Laitinen (on the left) is in charge of Finnish men’s team.

Photo: Heikki Juvonen (on the right) will make his championship debut as a head coach of Finnish women’s team. Timo Laitinen (on the left) is in charge of Finnish men’s team.


Finnish men’s team is the reigning European Champion. Finnish women’s team finished sixth two years ago in Denmark. Top teams of 2013 European Championships will secure their places to the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo. Finnish men and women are already qualified for the Worlds as a home team.



IBSA introduced Goalball World rankings – Finnish men’s team fourth
16.10.2013

IBSA Goalball introduced goalball world ranking system. Goalball playing countries in men and women are listed based on their success over four-year period.

Ranking points are calculated based on results of the matches, the importance of matches played, the strength of the opposing team and the strength of the opposing team’s region.

Points from last 12 months are added to the ranking 100 per cent. Points from last thirteen to twenty four months are added 75 per cent, points from last twenty five to thirty six months 50 per cent and points from last thirty seven to forty eight months 25 per cent.

Every victory in regulation time gives a country three points. Victory in extra time or penalties gives two points. Loss in extra time or penalties or a draw in regulation time gives one point. Losing a match in regulation time gives a country zero points.

Importance of the match varies from 0,5 points to 3,5 points. Round robin match in an international friendly tournament (eg. Pajulahti Games) gives a country 0,5 points. Playoff match (quarter final, semi final, medal match) in Paralympic Games or in World Championships gives a country 3,5 points.

Points regarding the strength of the opposing team are based on IBSA World ranking. Points regarding the strength of the opposing team’s region are based on last Paralympic Games and World Championships.

IBSA have created their first World rankings and from now on rankings are supposed to be updated monthly. In early stages only the results of the last two years are calculated to the rankings. There might be some oddities in the ranking at first but those are supposedly corrected in due time.

Finnish men’s team has won every major tournament during last few years but is placed fourth in the first World ranking. Brazil, Canada and USA are at the top of the list. That is explained by the fact that IBSA Goalball Parapan American Championships is already played and calculated in the list whilst other regions are still waiting on their own Championships to start.

Finnish women’s team is 9th in the World ranking. Canada is at the top despite they failed to qualify to the 2014 World Championships after finishing third in American Championships.

IBSA World ranking 1.10.2013

Men
1) Brazil
2) Canada
3) USA
4) Finland
5) Lithuania
6) Turkey
7) Sweden
8) Czech Republic
9) Belgium
10) Ukraine

Women
1) Canada
2) China
3) USA
4) Japan
5) Russia
6) Turkey
7) Sweden
8) Brazil
9) Finland
10) Israel

More information and the whole World ranking:
http://www.ibsasport.org/news/325/introducing-goalball-world-rankings



Will these teams make their way to the Worlds?
11.10.2013

Finland, Brazil, Turkey, Canada and USA have confirmed their places to the 2014 Goalball World Championships men’s tournament in Espoo. Finland, Japan, China, Sweden, Brazil and USA are sure to play in the Worlds women’s tournament.

There are still many places open for the World Championships. Here are some of the strong contenders to qualify for the Worlds.

Photo: The Swedish men’s team (in yellow) is trying to secure their place to the Worlds from the European Championships in November.

Photo: The Swedish men’s team (in yellow) is trying to secure their place to the Worlds from the European Championships in November.


Men

Lithuania
The reigning World Champion from 2010. Finished fourth in London Paralympic Games 2012. Silver medalist from European Championships 2011. Would be a huge surprise if Lithuania would miss the Worlds.

China
Silver medalist from World Championships 2010. Lithuania crushed them 12–4 in Paralympic quarter final but they are still favorites to take a place to the Worlds from IBSA Asia/Oceania Championships on their home soil.

Iran
Bronze medalist from World Championships 2010. They beat China in London Paralympic Games but lost to Finland in quarter finals. There are at least two places open in Asia/Oceania area and Iran will be a strong candidate.

Algeria
Algeria was the only African team in London Paralympic Games (8th) and in 2010 World Championships (7th). IBSA African Championships are now supposed to be played in Nairobi at the beginning of December and Algeria is the biggest favorite in the Games.

Sweden
Finished 6th in 2010 World Championships. Was narrowly knocked out from Paralympic quarter finals. Bronze medalist from 2011 European Championships. Would love to play in World Championships in neighbor country.

Women

Denmark
Lost all their matches in London Paralympic Games but is the reigning European Champion from 2011. Finished 7th in 2010 World Championships.

Australia
China and Japan are already through to the Worlds so there is an open spot from IBSA Asia/Oceania Championships for Australia. Was in Paralympic Games (9th) and in 2010 World Championships (8th).

Russia
Silver medalist from 2011 European Championships. Repeating that would take them to the Worlds. Wasn’t among participants in 2010 World Championships and in 2012 Paralympic Games.

Great Britain
Reached the quarter finals in Paralympic Games. Finished 9th in 2011 European Championships so they must do better this time. There might be many Ratio formula places for Europe this time though.

Spain
Finished 4th in 2011 European Championships. Competition in women’s EC is tough and Spain faces challenge from eg. Israel, Ukraine, Great Britain, Turkey and Germany. At least one or two of them will qualify for the Worlds.



New goalball rules tested in Finnish national league
7.10.2013

Finnish national goalball league works as a test laboratory for a new version of goalball rules. IBSA is planning to introduce the new rules in 2014 and the Espoo 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships are played using these rules.

The biggest change in new rules is that there’s no longer a section called “Third time throw”.

“A player can throw as many times as he or she wants. You don’t have to change a thrower after two consecutive throws,” says Katja Heikkinen, a Finnish women’s national team player.

Photo: Katja Heikkinen

Photo: Katja Heikkinen


“We’ll see if it is a good change or not, but in my opinion it was a bit artificial to restrict the number of throws. In which other sport you can’t throw as many times as you want,” she asks.

The problem is that the European Championships in November are played using the old rules. It might cause some orientation problems to Finnish players in EC.

Finnish national league 2013–2014 started in september and the second tournament was played in Kouvola last weekend. The league is played in two levels. In the top flight there are four teams where all the Finnish men’s national team players are playing. In the second division there are four teams that include all the Finnish women’s national team players.

The top men players are divided to different teams so for example Erkki Miinala, Jarno Mattila and Petri Posio are all playing against each other. Women are playing alongside men players in the second division.



2014 Goalball World Championships now on Twitter
2.10.2013

Espoo 2014 Goalball World Championships is now on Twitter. You can find us in www.twitter.com/goalballchamps and the user name is @goalballchamps. If you weren’t on Twitter before, this is the perfect reason to join!



Team Finland named for European Championships
1.10.2013

Finnish national teams for men and women for the Goalball European Championships in Turkey were announced on Monday. The European Championships are held in Konya, Turkey from 1st to 11th November.

Finnish men’s team is the defending European Champion from 2011. There are four players left from the team that celebrated gold medals in Assens, Denmark. The new players are Mikko Viittala and Eetu Eronen. Paralympic Gold medalists Petri Posio, Jarno Mattila, Erkki Miinala and Ville Montonen are still in the team.

Finnish women’s team finished sixth in Assens 2011. Natalie Ball is the only new player in the team compared to previous European Championships.

Photo: Natalie Ball is one of the players in Finnish women’s team in European Championships.

Photo: Natalie Ball is one of the players in Finnish women’s team in European Championships.


The biggest change in women’s team is that the head coach has changed after London Paralympic Games 2012. Heikki Juvonen took Timo Laitinen’s place. Laitinen concentrates now solely on coaching men’s team.

Finnish men’s team for European Championships

Players
Petri Posio
Jarno Mattila
Eetu Eronen
Ville Montonen
Erkki Miinala
Mikko Viittala

Head coach: Timo Laitinen
Coach: Kevin Collet

Finnish women’s team for European Championships

Players
Katja Heikkinen
Sanna Tynkkynen
Natalie Ball
Krista Leppänen
Kaisu Hynninen
Iida Kauppila

Head coach: Heikki Juvonen



2014 Goalball World Championships now on Facebook
30.9.2013

Espoo 2014 Goalball World Championships is now on Facebook. You can find us in www.facebook.com/goalball2014. There will be plenty of pictures and newsflashes both before and during the Games.



Czech Republic men’s team taking steps towards the top
30.9.2013

Czech Republic men’s team will be one of the favorites to reach the spot for the Espoo 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships when the last places from Europe are dealt in the European Championships in Turkey in November.

The Czechs won the Open West Flemish Cup 2013 in Belgium after beating Finland 6–4 in the final of the tournament. Czech Republic just reached a place in European A level after winning European B Championships 2012. Now they are already one of the top teams in the continent.

Finland had an impressive run in the Open West Flemish Cup before the final. In the semi final they beat Slovenia 13–5. Finland will host the 2014 World Championships so they won’t have to fight for the spot in European Championships, although they are trying to defend their crown as reigning European Champions.

Also Slovenia, Germany, Sweden and Belgium were in Open West Flamish Cup preparing themselves towards European Champiosnhips, the last opportunity to grab a place in World Championships. Finland and Turkey are the only teams from Europe that already have a place in men’s tournament in the Worlds.

Open West Flemish Cup, Bruges, Belgium 28.–29.9.2013

Semi finals
Slovenia–Finland 5–13
Czech Republic–Germany 10–3

Bronze match
Slovenia–Germany 7–5

Gold match
Finland–Czech Republic 4–6

Final ranking
1) Czech Republic
2) Finland
3) Slovenia
4) Germany
5) Belgium All Stars
6) Sweden
7) BSI, Denmark
8) Noordzee, Belgium
9) Belgium
10) Poland



Goalball World Championships 2014 officially launched
24.9.2013

Finland will host the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Espoo from 26th June to 6th July. The project is well underway and the Kick-off event for the Games was held 17th September.

Photo: The Chairman of the Organizing Committee Johanna Ikäheimo.

Photo: The Chairman of the Organizing Committee Johanna Ikäheimo.


Finland has never hosted the World Championships in Goalball. The European Championships was held in Finland in 1991 and B-level European Championships in 2008. Finland is the second best country in World Championships history and the men’s team is the reigning Paralympic gold medalist, so it was due time to get the Games in Finland.

“Our aim is to arrange the Games that make you feel like you just can’t miss this one. And after the tournament there will be tears of joy and affection in the cheeks of participants”, said Johanna Ikäheimo, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee.

The atmosphere was something special in the London Paralympic Games 2012. Paralympic Gold medalist Erkki Miinala is wishing that the home audience in Espoo could produce something similar next summer.

Photo: Finnish national team members Erkki Miinala and Katja Heikkinen.

Photo: Finnish national team members Erkki Miinala and Katja Heikkinen.


“I’m the type of player that bursts into flames in front of big crowds. I hope there will be a good show in Espoo,” said Miinala, an Espoo resident himself.

Finland, Brazil, Turkey, Canada and USA have already qualified for the men’s tournament in Espoo. Finland, Brazil, Japan, China, Sweden and USA have secured their places for the women’s tournament. There will be total 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams in the World Championships. The remaining places will be filled after the IBSA Regional Championships this autumn.



Five teams for men’s and six for women’s already qualified
3.9.2013

Five countries have already qualified for men’s tournament and six countries for women’s tournament for the 2014 World Championships in Espoo. Remaining places will be filled in November, after the last of the IBSA Regional Championships have been played.

Host and reigning Paralympic gold medalist Finland is deservedly among qualified countries in men’s tournament, as well as the future Paralympic host and last time Paralympic silver medalist Brazil. Paralympic bronze medalist Turkey is also qualified for the World Championships. Finalists Canada and USA secured their places in July in Pan American Championships, in Colorado. In total, 16 countries will take part in men’s tournament.

In women’s tournament, Finland as a host has also secured their place in Espoo, as well as the future Paralympic host Brazil. Medalists Japan, China and Sweden already qualified for the World Championships in London Paralympic Games. USA took their place in the World Championships as the Pan American champions in Colorado. In total, 12 countries will take part in women’s tournament.

The final remaining places will be decided in the IBSA Regional Championships this autumn. Egypt should be hosting the African Championships from 25th to 31st of October, but because of the unsettled situation in Cairo the Games are currently on hold.

The European A-level Championships are hosted in Konya, Turkey from 1st to 11th of November, while Beijing will host the Asia/Oceania Championships from 11th to 16th November. After those tournaments, all of the qualified countries will be decided. The pools for the World Championships will be further allocated at the beginning of December.
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