Finland will host the IBSA World Goalball Championships in 2014 following a tough and tight bidding process.
The championships, one of the biggest IBSA organizes, will take place at the Tapiola Sport Centre in the town of Espoo, close to the capital city Helsinki, from Thursday June 26th 2014 until Sunday July 6th.
IBSA Goalball spoke to Hannele Pöysti from the local organizing committee regarding the bidding process and the path and work that lies ahead of them.
Finland then has won the right to host the IBSA 2014 Goalball World Championships. So, why the race to the starting line? The answer is simple, because the journey has now just begun to Finland 2014, not only for the athletes but also for the organizing committee. The two final bids were of a very high quality and in the end it was very difficult to separate the two.
Kari Marklund, Chairman of the IBSA Goalball subcommittee, explained exactly how close the race was: “The bids were very tight. You could compare them to the women’s triathlon at the Olympic Games where the Swiss woman who came first beat second place by less than a second”.
For those who don’t remember, after a 1.5km swim, 43km of cycling and a run lasting 10km, Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig crossed the finishing line ahead of Lisa Nordén of Sweden in a photo finish. The finish was so tight that the official result took a few minutes to come through and only photographic evidence could separate the two because they had both clocked the same time.
So now you can only imagine how close the two final bids were to host the World Championships.
Like most races, a lot of the hard work is done preparing for the big race before it starts, and, like the triathlon, many elements now have to come together over the course of the race to be able to reach that finishing line successfully.
Triathlons consist of three disciplines and this makes it a difficult sport to train for. The upcoming World Championships shall also consist of three disciplines for the first time, as explained by Hannele Pöysti of the organizing committee: “We will arrange at the same time a tournament for young players.”
The youth tournament will be for national boys’ and girls’ teams between the ages of 12 and 19 years old.
This is where the comparisons of triathlon and the bid process for the IBSA Goalball World Championships ceases (and to the relief of many), because unlike Spirig, the Finnish team were not aware of how close the final two bids were. Hannele once again: “No, we didn’t know”.
When Hannele was asked about what she thought made the difference, she explained: “Finland is known as a good and reliable tournament organiser. Our accommodation and venues are good quality. The location of the venues/accommodation is near Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We also have high quality referees.”
News of the bid win was well received in Finland, leading to a double celebration: “On the same day we heard the news, we also celebrated our goalball gold from London. Our players like the fact that we will have world championships on home soil and said that it is great news.”
Even though they were excited about the win, Hannele and the team are well aware of what lies ahead of them: “The whole Goalball family and I were very excited. We thought that now all the hard work and fun can begin.”
So now the journey begins for everyone wishing to take part in these upcoming world championships, not only for the organizing committee, but also for athletes and officials alike.
It should be a wonderful tournament and the Finns are promising one extra spectacular element that hasn’t been mentioned yet in this article: midnight sun – now that is something special!