Back in the game stronger than ever

Iida Kauppila is a 24-year-old Finnish women's goalball national team player. She has been a national team regular since the beginning of this decade.

"Finally after being almost whole year in the sidelines due to illness I was able to make a comeback in the Jerusalem tournament in July. Being back in the national team felt awesome although our results in the tournament weren’t exactly something one could call flattering. Instead those results made very clear where we were at that point and what we would need to improve before the Euros in September.

It was a shame having to be out for so long before the big games in our home soil although there were some positives having to shake the normal training routines a bit. As I couldn’t play at all I had to concentrate on rehabilitation and improving my physique. After the break I came back tougher and more determined to succeed than ever.

Big international events such as the Euros are places where teams go to fulfil the goals they have set to themselves. In Pajulahti those goals are going as far as possible, winning medals and – most importantly – securing a spot for the 2018 World Championships in Malmö. In these events dreams can come true for some teams. In these matches a player can show what he or she is made of.

Iida Kauppila

Goalball has evolved rapidly during my playing years. As other disability sports, goalball has also became more professional. It takes years of systematic preparation and solid teamwork between players and coaches to make it to the top in the biggest tournaments. It means you need to try to get the best out of you at the same time you are trying to keep your personal life – work, career, family, home – in balance. And in the top level you are facing teams full of players who can concentrate solely on playing goalball.

Of course, life is full of choices. At times – and especially before the Euros – it feels that “for the love of sport” in my case means that you go to work when you have spare time from playing, you use your salary to goalball related expenses and you meet your family and friends if they happen to be in the gym same time with you.

But despite these everyday challenges and the difficulties I had with my health, I have to use the well-known phrase “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”. That being said I’m heading the home Euros with full speed to reach our goals and fulfil our dreams!"

There will be total of 22 blog texts published in the Pajulahti 2017 blog, one text every week until the 2017 IBSA Goalball European Championships on 18–22 of September. Each week there will be a different writer. New blog text will be published every Wednesday.