Expected winners but still drama at Malmö Open
Date: February 13, 2013
For the nineteenth consecutive year the Goalball tournament during the Malmö Open, the big event for disabled athletes, was organized and as usual was the interest to participate extremely large.
Five teams were included in the competition's elite class while originally twelve teams would participate in the open class. Two of them however withdrew just prior to the start of the tournament which meant that the schedule had to be adjusted a bit but it did not seem to affect the other teams very much. Many of the participants said that they loved the way that the tournament is organized and said that the Malmö Open belongs to the world's best organized goalball event.
The Elite class consisted of two teams from England and two from Sweden and the title defending home team FIFH Malmö. FIFH had a really strong and wide squad consisting of more or less international players from Sweden and Denmark and they also dominated the round robin of the Elite. IFAS from Stockholm has lost a bit of their squad and ended third. UK based Thames Valley finished second between these two Swedish teams. They had for their part, brought a team with the great German player Steffen Lehmann. Also Linköpings HIF had got a great team with the former Malmö-players Jimmy Björkstrand and Mikael Aspegren and even though they just had one loss during the whole weekend the team ended on fourth place due to three draws. Leicester from England finished on fifth spot.
Sunday's placement match between Linköping and Leicester gave a clear and stable Swedish victory while the "Medal group" became incredibly dramatic since Malmö won against IFAS who in turn defeated Thames Valley. The British led the game against the home team and were close to a major upset before the Malmö player Fatmir Seremeti could even the game to 2-2 and hand the trophy to the home Club, who for the first time managed to defend their elite title.
Also the battle for the highest goal scorer in the elite class was exciting. In the end that trophy stays in Malmö thanks to the former Swedish player Jimmy Björkstrand who made twenty-four of his team's 34 goals. Pjotr Lawnichak from IFAS was second, one goal behind.
Unfortunately, there was no home win in the open class this year. The home team have been victorious in this division every year since 2006. This year the favourites were the Swedish team Brukarhuset and BSU from Denmark. However, Brukarhuset failed in the round robin and finally landed on seventh place. Contrastingly, the Danish team stood up well to the expectations but it was perhaps not surprising because the team consisted of several Danish international players. They won the tournament in front of Russian Sergiev Posad and Swedish Hammarby IF.
The Dutch team Haag´88 finished in eighth place but Mark Hylkhyssen from them was the best top scorer of the Open class with 18 goals.
The home Club ended up on fourth place with a great mix of experienced and new players.
The organizer FIFH Malmö would like to thank the local soccer club Kulladals FF for the assistance with officials as well as the Malmö Community for good cooperation.
On 8th-9th February 2014, the Malmö Open will take place again and the goalball competition will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. So they hope to see you all then!