The 29th Finnish Marathon
22 Feb 2017 at 15:38 | Published by: Ida | Views: 6271 | News search
Kosti Salonen and Gustav Björnberg (Photo by Sandra Walker)
On Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of February, it was once again that time of the year when players from Finland, Sweden and Germany arrived to Tampere to play the marathon. » Results
Only 19 competing pairs played this year, which was a little less than previous years but the quality of those two-player-teams was off the roof. There were Nordic Champions, European Championship bronze medalist, Youth World Championship's matchplay winner and many many more. Considering in advance, the favorites were Kosti Salonen and Gustav Björnberg from Tantogårdens BGK as usual. However, it wasn’t only one team who stood out before the competition this year: the young guns of Kungälvs BGK, Eirik Seljelid and Aki Sillman, and last year’s winner Markku Sillman, Manse RG, with his new pair Torgny Kjellström, Kungälvs BGK, were ready for the challenge. There were no reasons to forget the team Jukka Reunavuori, latest winner of a regular competition, and Jussi Heino, the man who seems to put another gear when it comes to bigger competitions held in Tampere, either.
Competition started with the favorites filling the top 4. A. Sillman and E. Seljelid were in the lead the first 20 rounds while pair Salonen-Björnberg were lurking in the background only couple shots behind. M. Sillman and T. Kjellström likewise J. Reunavuori and J. Heino fell little bit off the leaders' pace and battled their own fight for places 3-4. In the end, pair Sillman-Kjellström was stronger taking the 3rd place.
After 20 rounds it finally started to happen. Seljelid shot the perfect 18, extending the lead to 5 points. Immediately Björnberg answered with a 19-round against Seljelid's 24, and the game was even! Two final rounds left and Kosti “The Big Red” Salonen jumped in to play the rest against Seljelid. It was back and forth but Salonen managed to beat Seljelid by one shot. Seljelid's last round started badly when he missed the first lane. But chase was on, and the difference wasn't more than 1-2 points during the whole last round before last four lanes. Salonen did a mistake on lane 15, Lightning, narrowing their own lead. Seljelid aced the difficult Loop and Salonen followed with an ace. Same happened on lane 17, and ultimately on the very last lane. So Salonen and Björnberg kept the crucial one point lead to the end and took the victory once again!
After the match we had a chance to interview the winners!
-Congratulations Kosti and Gustav! This is your sixth victory in last seven years, right? That's a huge achievement! This year you had to work to earn the victory. What you guys think now after the competition?
Kosti: Thanks! And yes, that's right. We knew that Kungälv's boys won't give up easily and once earlier we've had a tight fight which we won after the sudden death but now we were few shots behind almost the whole competition. And maybe that's why this victory is probably the sweetest.
Gustav: Oh, it's always as nice to win a marathon because it's so special competition form. This year both mine and Kosti's playing went a bit up and down and I think Aki and Eirik would have earned to win after their great Sunday morning. Happenstances ended the fight how it ended and of course I'm really happy about winning with Kosti once again!
-What does this competition mean to you? What does inspire you to come and chase the victory over and over again?
Kosti: This competition is much more important to me personally than people think. Even though the team is really small in this competition, this is absolutely a team competition to me and "our club's happening". It's also great to see my teammates more often than just in the division games. And this is a nice competition! Absolutely one of winter's highlights!
-You've played many years together as a pair both in Finland's and Sweden's marathons. When and how you became an inseparable marathon pair?
Gustav: Actually I don't remember but it must have been in 2011 in Tampere and 2013 in Munktell. Those have went well and why would anyone want to change a winning concept? In my opinion we work really well together: we're good friends outside the course and we have about the same attitude to minigolf. However, we are also a bit different as persons when I'm the louder one and Kosti is the calm one. In a way we complete each other and maybe it's also our strength.
Thank you to Aki Sillman and Ida Hiltunen for this article.