Koljonen have paid Badminton Europe's Centre of Excellence a visit last week. (Photo: BadmintonPhoto)
Finnish national champions Koljonen and Mikkela visit COE
Date: 3/27/2018 2:40 PM
Published by : Emma Lollike
Badminton Europe’s Centre of Excellence currently has 18 players that live and train permanently in Holbæk. But the centre is also open for visitors and players on scholarships, who wish to stay for shorter periods. Kalle Koljonen and Airi Mikkela’s visit last week was an example of this.

For Koljonen, the visit was a way for him to stay in one place and train between two play-off team matches in the Danish league. And if the schedule is ever similar, he now knows that there is a great place for him to train in Denmark.

- I did not want to travel back to Finland since I am having quite a tight schedule now because of the play-offs and I have some tournaments, so I wanted to have less travelling days. It’s mentally very exhausting and I was a bit curious about this place, like how the things are here. Basically, those were the two main reasons why I came here, the 24-year-old Finn explained.

Airi Mikkela, also 24, visited for a couple days of training, as well, to see the new facilities in Denmark. She became aware of the new centre on social media and learned that many players are happy in Holbæk.

Warm recommendations
- The practice has been really nice with really good quality and the players are motivated. It’s nice to practice in a good group, the Finnish women’s singles stated.

- For smaller countries who does not have this kind of setup – yes [I recommend coming here]! Because if they want to get to the international level or they have a dream about that, if they think they can do it in a small country with no structure, Koljonen said and continued:

- Yeah you can dream about it but that is not going to work. They need to come here in order to succeed, unless you are some kind of super talent. Every once in a while, there comes someone who can do that but why take a risk about that? I recommend for the smaller countries to come here at least to try and see.

Head coach is happy with the variation
- It is a perfect win-win for the players and for us. We are able to have a variation in sparring for the players at the centre, and the players that are visiting get the daily training that they need while they are away, head coach of the Centre of Excellence Jeroen van Dijk explains.

- We are happy to host these players and build a great network in the player community where we can all work together to lift the level in Europe.

Michal Rogalski (Poland), Vegard Rikheim (Norway), Irina Andersen, Søren Hald and Andreas Fleischer (Denmark) were also a part of the training last week in Holbæk. 

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