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07/06/2017 09:51
Finland to host Volleyball ‘Super Week’ with World League and world’s largest youth tournament
News from the National Federations

Helsinki, Finland, June 7, 2017. The second stage of this year’s FIVB Volleyball World League will be kind of special for Team Finland since at the very same time the Finnish Volleyball Association will host the world’s largest youth Volleyball tournament, the Power Cup. Myyrmäki – Vantaa, just 15 minutes from the city of Helsinki, will welcome as many as 865 junior teams, thus accounting for some 7,000 players competing at the same time.

The Finnish men’s national team will play Slovakia, China and Australia at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki and all of the young players participating in the Power Cup will have free access to the World League matches featuring their idols. The organisers are hoping to break the all-time record of attendance for a Volleyball match on Finnish soil set on July 4, 2009 in Tampere when 6,285 people watched the game between Finland and Brazil.  

“It will be great to play in Hartwall Arena. This is the first time we play in Finland in such a huge sports hall, with a capacity of 13,000. I am sure that together with the fans and the many young players in attendance we will deliver a memorable event,” head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo says.

Finland started their World League campaign with three straight losses last week in Korea, but now in the front of the home crowd the team is ready to show their best and determined to take their first victories in the competition. After successfully qualifying to the 2018 World Championship less than two weeks ago, the coaching staff made five changes to the roster of the team.

“In Helsinki we will have the same roster than in Korea, with the addition of opposite Urpo Sivula. He had a minor injury in leg, but now he is back in good shape,” Sammelvuo explains.

For the Finnish players, such home tournament is always something very special. Middle blocker Sauli Sinkkonen sees that now it is payback time for the thousands of fans that have been supporting the team when playing abroad. “Hopefully we can be good role models for the juniors so that they get the right boost of energy to continue playing Volleyball. Our fans are travelling with us all over the world - so we owe them one weekend on home soil,” Sinkkonen said.

On Thursday Finland will face Slovakia, before taking on China and Australia on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Australia have as many as five players competing in the Finnish Mestaruusliiga on their roster. “We will fight for every rally and point to the end. We will never give up, even in the most difficult situations,” Sinkkonen promises.

On Tuesday the Finnish Volleyball Association organised in Töölö Sports Hall an unconventional press conference together with the City of Helsinki as the members of the national team practiced together with tens of local juniors. At the same time, the media had the opportunity to capture interviews and to take pictures. “We want to do things which give us the right boost of energy. This was for sure one of such things,” coach Sammelvuo concludes.

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