Always a pleasure to come back to Pajulahti

Russian Alexey Baryaev is the IBSA Goalball Sport Director and the Technical Delegate of the 2017 IBSA Goalball European Championships. Basically he is the guy who is making sure that everything goes “by the book”.

"I’m writing this text in the sky, on my way to Budapest for the annual IBSA Goalball sub-committee meeting. This sport opens new horizons for everyone involved (athletes, coaches, staff, referees, volunteers): not only “visible” but also hidden possibilities in life! I have visited all continents with goalball projects and everywhere people are open and want to play this game despite unique equipment and training system.

My first international goalball tournament was in Pajulahti Sport Institute which makes my participation in the European A Championships as IBSA Technical Delegate very special. I know that the Finnish Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities and Pajulahti Sport Institute have lot of experience in organizing high-level goalball event and I am sure that this event will be one of the best in more than 70-years history of the rubber ball with bells.

Photo: Erkki Hämäläinen

I began with goalball as science assistant in the national team of Russia and step by step I studied details of this sport. That moment there were no international referees in our country which created many misunderstandings in rules and regulations. That’s why I decided to become an international referee. Before goalball I was a football referee, so I knew that this job is very hard. You need to be focused all game long and be ready to make a decision in one second. Especially, you have to understand, that you can never be a “good guy” for both teams after the game (not even after a draw). Practice is the most important thing to keep up your referee level, the same thing as for players.

Also I started to help my friends in organizing goalball events, because it was also interesting for me and I had good experience in my past with other sports. Then I became an assistant TD in some big international events and got lot of feedback afterwards.

In 2015 I was invited to Sport Director’s position in IBSA Goalball. That was a big surprise for me to get to join the sub-committee but I started it with big enthusiasm. My experience of Rio 2016 has “no borders”: the latest Paralympic Games showed to the world new level of the game with more than 230 000 spectators in 2 weeks. Some of the games had 8 000 spectators and created a great atmosphere for everyone which has to be in every tournament further.  

I’m always ready to help in goalball development, because we have a big “family” of interested people who are ready to move in the same direction together…and we are looking for the best way!

Back to Pajulahti! I like to come to Finland any season (it’s only 5 hours by car from my home), you’ll find many interesting things there (nature is one of the best in the world in my ranking list) and you can meet all the European goalball family members in Pajulahti Sport Institute in September. Come and join Euro A 2017 to enjoy goalball at the lakeside!"

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.