No pressure

Fatmir Seremeti is a 33-year-old Swedish national team player who have been part of the World’s goalball elite for over a decade.

"The Paralympic Games in Rio was an amazing experience for us. We have never been more relaxed in the Paralympics. We were open to all of the wonderful experiences the Paralympic Games can offer. There is a simple reason for this and it is spelled: ”no pressure”.

We had no pressure what so ever because we knew beforehand that we were underdogs. Just two years earlier we were down at the European B division and missed out on the World Championships in Espoo, Finland. With hard work and tremendous team effort we managed to qualify for Rio Paralympics in the IBSA World Games in Seoul 2015.

This effort taught us that everything is possible and that we have the capacity to challenge the best teams in the world. We lost the bronze game in Rio in front of the home crowd against Brazil but 4th place in Rio was much better than we ever could have dreamed of.

Goalball is so well developed now that basically every team in Rio could have won a medal.

It is about the same situation for us in the European Championships in Finland. We are still underdogs compared to many of the world’s best teams and beforehand it’s impossible to say who is going to reach the podium in Finland. The Euros in Finland will be a difficult tournament for us and our main aim is to be able to stay in the A Division.

In a good day we really can beat the best teams in the world but to be able to win a medal we need many really good days in Finland. However it is not impossible.

Fatmir Seremeti & Stefan Gahne

Our performance in Finland will build the groundwork for our preparations for the World Championships in Malmö, Sweden 2018.

Some of the Swedish national team players including myself were planning on ending our goalball careers after Rio, but as it came clear that we would have the worlds at home soil, everything changed.

Championship tournament in front of the home crowd must be one of the most exciting moments in a life of a goalball player and no one is going to want to miss out on this.

If we somehow reach the medals in the Worlds we will be qualified to the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. Which players will be available for us then, remains to be seen but it will be difficult to quit there for sure.

Right now we have a very good team mixed with some really good experienced players and young, hungry players who have shown that they can compete in the highest level. It will be really interesting to see some of these young players take the next step and make a name of themselves in the goalball world."

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.