World traveller Ruohonen is back in Pajulahti to challenge other showdown top guns

Teemu Ruohonen

In many sports the annual Pajulahti Games is the first international encounter of the year as the athletes gather to Lahti, Finland on 18–20 of January. Showdown is one of those sports. And in 2019 it just might be the highest quality showdown tournament in the 9-year-history of the Pajulahti Games!

In men’s tournament there will be all the medallists from the 2018 European Championships: bronze medallist Adrian Sloninka from Poland, silver medallist and the World Ranking number one Peter Zidar from Slovenia as well as the gold medallist, Olli Kytöviita from Finland. In women’s tournament the Finnish duo of Hanna Vilmi and Jaana Pesari already quarantee the top level tournament. And there are also six other players from the World Ranking Top-10, eg. Tanja Oranic from Slovenia and Elvina Vidot from France.

Olli Kytöviita was the ”star is born” story of 2018 but there are also other excellent men players in Finland. Ari Lahtinen finished fourth and Jouni Kytöviita fifth in the European Championships and the experienced Juha Oikarainen and Teemu Ruohonen have traditionally performed well in the Pajulahti Games.

In the European Championships Ruohonen had to settle for the 13th place but now he believes he is ready to challenge the top guys again. 

– I have adjusted my defence a bit since the European Championships. There was a small technique flaw and in this sport a small thing can mean big things in results, Ruohonen says.

Last year’s Pajulahti Games was played without Ruohonen as he was travelling around the World for six months. He got back to Finland on February 2018. Ruohonen travelled for example in Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, United States and Costa Rica.

– It was a fantastic experience! Before the trip I had no idea how will I survive travelling alone with visual impairment. But it went great. There was always someone willing to help me out when needed, Ruohonen tells.

– Numerous times I was positively surprised. By the people mostly, but sometimes even to find out that after all the tap water is quite drinkable in many places although we are always warned about that.

Ruohonen didn’t have his showdown equipment with him in his journey but he was keeping himself informed on how the tournaments went in the other side of the World. When he came back to Finland, there was a new sheriff in town as young Olli Kytöviita had risen to the top like a rocket.

– I wasn’t surprised at all that Olli made it to the top because I knew his abilities. But I must say I was surprised of how fast he got there. His development was massive during the time I was gone, Ruohonen says.

He thinks that Kytöviita’s skills can help other Finnish players reach the next level as well.

– His defence is flawless at times. You can make a mistake here and there against other players and get away with it, but that isn’t possible against Olli. If you can handle him you know you can handle anyone in the World.

Pajulahti Games showdown tournament will be played in 18–20 of January in the second floor class rooms of the Pajulahti main building.

Further information about the Pajulahti Games from the event

Players in the Pajulahti Games 2019 Showdown tournament


(Position in the latest World Ranking (Jan 2019))

  • Peter Zidar, Slovenia (1.)
  • Adrian Sloninka, Poland (2.)
  • Olli Kytöviita, Finland (4.)
  • Jouni Viitamäki, Finland (6.)
  • Ari Lahtinen, Finland (7.)
  • Pierre Bertrand, France (8.)
  • Juha Oikarainen, Finland (10.)
  • Lukasz Byczkowski, Poland (11.)
  • Aliser Hozanijazov, Estonia (13.)
  • Stefan Marcin, Slovakia (15.)
  • Teemu Ruohonen, Finland (16.)
  • Pavol Kubosko, Slovakia (17.)
  • Emiliano Garay, Italy (19.)
  • Robert Lätt, Estonia (20.)
  • Rinaldo Massola, Italy (23.)
  • Ondrej Kodet, Czech Republic (30.)
  • Robert Glojnaric, Germany (32.)
  • Deniz Kürtoglu, Germany (34.)
  • Marco Carrai, Italy (37.)
  • Stefan Heuker, Netherlands (39.)
  • Denis Repa, Slovenia (45.)
  • Manfred Scharpenberg, Germany (53.)
  • Andreas Schmitz, Germany (54.)
  • Zygimantas Matusevicius, Lithuania (57.)
  • Miroslav Marcinko, Slovakia (66.)
  • Pavel David, Czech Republic (67.)
  • Simon Janatzek, Germany (76.)
  • Andrea Bazzano, Italy (196.)
  • Antonio Michienzi, Germany (208.)
  • Thomas Häni, Switzerland (232.)
  • Josef Kaplan, Czech Republic (290.)
  • Paulo Coelho, Portugal (-)
  • William Gustavsson, Sweden (-)
  • Aram Darwish, Sweden (-)
  • Emil Nilsson, Sweden (-)
  • Tomas Rys, Czech Republic (-)
  • Christoph Niehaus, Germany (-)


(Position in the latest World Ranking (Jan 2019))

  • Jaana Pesari, Finland (1.)
  • Hanna Vilmi, Finland (2.)
  • Tanja Oranic, Slovenia (4.)
  • Elvina Vidot, France (5.)
  • Birgit Riester, Germany (6.)
  • Piera Folino, Italy (7.)
  • Monika Szwalek, Poland (9.)
  • Sabrina Schmitz, Germany (10.)
  • Sanja Kos, Slovenia (12.)
  • Bettina Steffan, Germany (18.)
  • Genoveffa Passero, Italy (32.)
  • Renata Kohn, Germany (39.)
  • Oksana Dobrovolskaja, Lithuania (41.)
  • Jessica Parodi, Italy (53.)
  • Helma Van der Boom, Netherlands (73.)
  • Angelina Elmström, Sweden (-)
  • Andrea Rippich, Germany (-)
  • Bianka Naser, Germany (-)