We did it!

Timo Pelkonen is the Secretary General of the 2017 IBSA Goalball European Championships.

"On May 2016 we got a confirmation that Finland had been chosen to host the 2017 IBSA Goalball European Championships. For first, big thanks to IBSA, for trusting us to host this event! From there started a one and a half year project that culminated last Friday in Pajulahti. During the project there were numerous meetings, phone calls, emails, successes, times of frustration and times of getting excited. For the whole time I had a strong trust that we will organize a great Games! We have plenty of organizing experience in the Finnish Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities (VAU) and an irreplaceable bunch of volunteers who have lost their hearts to goalball.

It was clear from the beginning that we would have top class venues, accommodation and meals thanks to the Pajulahti Paralympic Training Center. But we also knew it would be a challenge to get huge crowds because of Pajulahti’s distant location. This time we chose the venue from the player’s perspective and based on the feedback we have had from the teams, it was a right decision. The matches are the most important thing and from the first day of the event there were no problems with them. Big thanks for that to the Pajulahti Sport Instructor students who did excellent job in various officials tasks.

Timo Pelkonen

We tried some new approaches in communications such as Road to Pajulahti video series. We wanted to open up the Finnish team’s journey towards the home Games for the public. Also we produced a 22 blog texts deep Pajulahti 2017 blog where other participating teams got their voice heard as well. I think the short video interviews during the game week worked fine and it was handy for the teams to share those short clips in the social media. All 66 matches could be watched via live stream and you can still go back to watch every match you choose via our competition website. For the Finnish audience, Mr. Tuomas Törrönen provided a professional commentary with half time studio interviews. Not bad at all with the resources we had!

As the game week were heading towards end, we got more and more positive feedback from the players and coaches. It felt great to hear the words “the best organized Games ever” multiple times! Making these Games happen had taken a lot from myself and my colleagues: long days, plenty of time away from our families and some sleepless nights as well. Thank you for everyone involved in this: the Organizing Committee, Pajulahti students, volunteers, the staff of the Pajulahti Paralympic Training Center and for my colleagues in VAU!

Thank you for the City of Lahti, to the Ministry of Education and Culture and our partners for your financial support for this event!

Big congratulation for the medallists! Thank you to players, coaches, staff members, referees and classifiers!

Together we made these Games successful in the year Finland celebrates 100 years of independence!

Thank you!"

There were be total of 22 blog texts published in the Pajulahti 2017 blog, one text every week from the beginning of May. Each week there was a different writer. New blog text was published every Wednesday.