2016: Eastern powerhouses gave a sitting volleyball lesson for the hosts

Ukraine, Russia and Finland played a women’s sitting volleyball European Sub-Zone ranking tournament on Thursday before the actual Pajulahti Games takes off on Friday.

Hosts Finland got a rough treatment from the top two countries in Europe. Russia beat them 3–0 (25–9, 25–18, 25–14) and Ukraine with almost as wide margin 3–0 (25–12, 25–19, 25–18).

– Every now and then we experienced some good moments, but all in all it was quite unstable performance for us. But after all, the opponents were really hard, number one and two in Europe, said Finnish player Anne Mäki.

Mäki has been playing sitting volleyball since 1997. She is one of three players – together with Petra Pakarinen and Annukka Jäätteenmäki – remaining from the Finnish team that finished sixth in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. That is the only time Finnish women have qualified for the Paralympics in sitting volleyball.

– Athens was the first time women’s sitting volleyball was an official Paralympic sport. Before Athens we were able to beat teams like USA and China, but after the Games the big countries have gotten better and better. Paralympic status is a powerful thing for a sport, Mäki said.

Now Finland have established their place as the sixth best team in Europe. They managed to finish eight in the 2014 World Championships which was quite an achievement.

On Friday Netherlands and Great Britain join the trio to start the actual Pajulahti Games sitting volleyball tournament. Showdown and goalball also start on Friday.

Pajulahti Games 2016

Sitting volleyball, women

European Sub-zone ranking tournament

Matches

  • Russia–Ukraine 3–0 (25–19, 25–19, 25–20)
  • Russia–Finland 3–0 (25–9, 25–18, 25–14)
  • Finland–Ukraine 0–3 (12–25, 19–25, 18–25)

Final standings

  1. Russia 2 2 0 0 0 6–0 150–99 6
  2. Ukraine 2 1 0 0 1 3–3 133–124 3
  3. Finland 2 0 0 0 2 0–6 90–150 0

From Friday to Sunday the actual Pajulahti Games sitting volleyball tournament is played. Teams for the tournament are: Finland, Ukraine, Russia 1, Russia 2, Netherlands and Great Britain.