Off to Predazzo: Interview with Pasi Aho
16 Aug 2010 at 21:29 | Published by: Hans | Views: 11012 | News search
Pasi Aho doing the Opening Speech in YWC in Sochi (Photo by Igor Samsonov 2010)
Interview with Pasi Aho, Head Coach of Finland and WMF Youth Officer
This interview was done in August 2010. Interviewer is Hans Bergström (HB).
HB: First of all thank you for letting Minigolfnews interview you.
PA: Thanks for asking, always a pleasure.
HB: Its now one year from our last interview and the 2010 season is ready for the Championships. How has the 2010 season been in Finland so far? Have there been any surprises or new players breaking through?
PA: I have been following the season from Germany and played myself one competition in Vaasa. No big breakthroughs, old favorites have been holding their positions. I have to mention John Mittler’s good performances at miniaturegolf and felt championships, but he is not a new name... Gladly we also managed to have boys’ team to Sochi, which was quite unexpected still in the winter season.
HB: Any reflections on the Odense Championships that you want to share with us?
PA: That was an experience par excellence, unfortunately not possible to repeat easily for an organizer. For our team it was also a good tournament with some unforgettable moments.
HB: In some countries every second Year when the European Championship is played seem to be seen as not so important as the World Championships Years. What is your opinion about that?
PA: Every time I am responsible for a team I want them to be at their best. Same goes when I play myself. The next tournament is always the most important. I have not noticed any differences among my players if it is Worlds or Europeans and that’s how it should be.
HB: You have spent the last week in a hot Sochi. Can you tell us about this tournament?
PA: Like I said in my closing speech, it was an incredibly fantastic experience in extreme weather conditions. The organization worked well, the minigolf community in Russia and Sochi loves our game and they showed it. The MOS concrete course received almost 100 % positive response, players liked to play it. Germany performed extremely well and managed to turn the bad first round quite easily to double team gold. Further the Russian girls’ bronze medal will remain in history books forever as will the Italian boys’ silver too. When I was watching Italy to play and celebrate, I couldn’t help thinking back to Olten in 2004. We may have celebrated a bit better though, but they certainly played on same level!!!
HB: You are involved in Minigolf in many ways. As player, as Head Coach of Finland, as WMF Youth Officer and TC Member, as co-owner and full time worker for Fun-Sports. How do you find the motivation to keep up all of this?
PA: Love to the game is the motivation. Also one must have a job anyway, so why not with minigolf? Sometimes when I play badly I think that I should like this stuff because I am doing this voluntarily, and then it goes easier again. Sometimes I get slightly tired, but until now it was only temporary and I hope it stays like that for many years.
HB: You are soon to leave for Predazzo. What are your expectations of the performance on the Finnish Teams in Predazzo?
PA: As always we are realistically fighting behind the big four for fifth place in men’s team competition. Now Italy being strong at home I count them to the big five. Sweden is not so strong on paper, but I bet they want to have a word in the match for medals too. Let’s see what our role will be. The team is young and good for a surprise I hope. So let’s say 5th place is the goal. We have again no ladies team, so we want to bring Mirva as far as possible in individual competition.
HB: Do you have any comments on the Austrian nomination controversy story?
PA: That is their internal issue and I don’t have any right to comment on that. Only the persons involved know all facts.
HB: What are your favourites for medals in the Team Competition on men’s and ladies side?
PA: In men’s I see Germany slightly ahead of Austria, Italy and Switzerland. On the ladies’ side it will be more open. In fact it can get very exciting there.
HB: Can you mention any favorites as you see it for the individual medals in Predazzo?
A: I could mention many, too many in both categories. Let’s see what the historically strong matchplayers like Fille Svensson will do. It would be for me personally a pleasure to see Cecio Leuci on the podium for second time in two weeks! Karin Heschl has been strong in k.o. at youth tournaments…
HB: Are there any nations or players that you think will have a breakthrough this year?
PA: Hard to mention any, but I believe in some medals for Italy. That would not be a breakthrough though.
HB: If you could select 2 none Finnish players to play in your national Teams (one man and one lady) who would you select?
PA: I think Csaba Palinkas would do well since he unfortunately can’t play in team competition for Hungary nowadays. Ladies…hmm, Corina Reinisch has been coaching my club team this year so maybe she could also play for Finland. She is not practicing that much nowadays, but still plays decent tournaments.
HB: Who do you think will be the next young Finnish player to break through internationally?
PA: Never mind who it will be, I’ll do whatever I can to support him in this mission!
HB: Again thanks for participating a good luck with the team in Predazzo.
PA: Thanks Hans, see you there!