Interview with Riku Pennanen
02 Jan 2012 at 11:04 | Published by: Hans | Views: 8947 | News search
Riku Pennanen media responsible in the Lahti WC organisation (Photo by Riku Pennanen 2011)
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Interview with Riku Pennanen (RP), Finland, Media Manager of the Lahti 2013-15 Organisation.
This interview was done the 2nd of January 2012. Interviewer is Hans Bergström (HB).
HB: Can you tell us a little bit more about the Town of Lahti and the arranging club?
RP: Lahti is a city located 100 kilometers from Helsinki. It is one of the most famous sport cities in Scandinavia and has the biggest amount of international sports events amongst all cities in Finland. With over 100 000 inhabitants, Lahti is the 4th largest city in Finland. The city has always been very welcoming when it comes to sports. For example the plan for building the Minigolf Center was received very well in 2005 and got itself a great place only 1,5 kilometers from the center, and an area of 10 000m2 and a permit to build on 3 500m2. Entrepreneur and a national team player Rolf Bergström is the owner and builder of the Lahti Minigolf Center. The operations were started first with the felt course in 2006, the fun course was ready in 2007 and the eternite in 2011. The minigolf club for Lahti was founded in 2007 having now 11 active members and is growing next year to over 20 active members or more.
Rolf Bergström is responsible of organizing all the competitions. He has more than 30 years of experience in building minigolf courses and has been representing the Finnish National Team for about 20 years. He has collected experience in many international competitions and has learn how to arrange this kind of a competition.
HB: If you succeed can you tell us about what your ambitions of the arrangements are?
RP: Finnish Minigolf Association together with Rolf Bergström and I have agreed that I take care of all the media relations such as events, press, social media and TV. Our aim is to make this competition in an unprecedented media event. Rolf Bergström has good relations for example in radio and TV because he has also been a singing artist in Finland the past 20 years. As an entrepreneur also myself (Riku), I work daily in social media, have experience working with media and have a lot of business relationships etc. that will help to generate visibility in Finland.
HB: How are the courses? New/old? Easy or hard?
RP: The felt course is five years old and right now is quite easy. Few years ago I won the Finnish Championships on felt with an average of little under 30. The tracks are quite long, all together 236 meters and in good shape. Of course before the competitions we will check that the course and the obstacles are challenging enough.
The eternite course is new and completed in 2011. We have experienced only one competition on eternite and the scores were average. We have made some changes and believe that the scores will be better in future. It is easy to follow the competitions from the terrace, which makes it great for the audience.
The Minigolf Center itself completed in summer 2011. There are all together three courses in the area: an easy and fun course for public, professional felt and an eternite course. On the terrace (cafeteria and grill), you can order beverages and food. There are about 200 seats outside at the terrace and 40 on the inside. Next to the course there is a popular family park that has more than 130 000 visitors every summer that also drives players to the course. The whole area is surrounded with fence and all the players tents will fit into a closed area. We have been planning many of these things in advance to make it easier.
The Lahti Minigolf Center has agreed the rent contract forever and has a plan to build the fourth course and a gourmet/entertainment restaurant during the next few years. This means that we can all expect new applications from Lahti for international competitions also after 2015.