Finland's war and Volleyball veterans in action in Helsinki
News from the National Federations
Helsinki, Finland, February 8, 2013. The real pioneers of Finland’s Volleyball were recently in action as Helsinki played host to the national championships specifically addressed for players aged 75, 80 and 85. The oldest player in action there was Jaakko Estola, 94, who did represent the likes of a well-known club from Finland’s capital city, Sikariporras. Estola and the other members of his team (see picture, #9) are all war veterans from World War II.
“I think that this tournament is something unique also worldwide” said Estola, “as you have players aged 85 or more that are competing for the national championship. The average age of war veterans currently stands at 89 and our team’s average is 88. It is just amazing to see how these old players can serve from the 9 m line or control the ball in reception. They can also pass the ball correctly and they do so most of the time”.
Mauno Koivisto, a former player for Sikariporras and Finland’s former Prime Minister (1968-1970 and 1979-1982) and President (1982-1994), is also still fond of the sport but at his age – 89 – he’s no longer playing. He still watched the competition from the stands accompanied by wife Tellervo and in the end he presented the medals to the best teams.