(Photo: Badminton Europe)
The pride and honour of a host nation
Date: 2/24/2021 11:25 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Finland hosted the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships in Vantaa last week. We take a look at what it meant for the players representing their country at home. 

Many words have been written about the organisational challenges under the COVID-19 pandemic already. Finland stepped up, delivered, and the home players were excited to put on the Finnish team shirt and play badminton against the top players in Europe. 

-I was excited before the tournament and honoured to play, Jenny Nystrom stated. 

-I think it is great, but of course, it would have been a lot nicer with a big audience here to watch us, Mathilda Lindholm added thoughtfully. 

Finland played in the European Mixed Team Championships for the first time since 2013 when it was an eight-group format. So, this was special, and although the venue was empty, the Finnish team felt the support of the nation who watched them give it everything for Finland on TV. 

Jenny Nystrom and Mathilda Lindholm played in all of the group stages as Finland’s women’s doubles pair. They gave a strong account of themselves, even forced three-games from world number 66 pair, Julie MacPherson/ Ciara Torrance, over 400 ranking spots higher. What makes it more impressive is when Lindholm explains that they are not full-time players. 

-I would not call us professionals anymore; we are training maybe three times a week as we are working and studying. Although, we have been fortunate enough that we can train when we want to train. 

The pair are juggling their badminton with many things in their lives. 

-I am graduating to be a Physio in a few months. So, I would soon start to work with that the whole time. But I would also like to coach and help players to get better in Finland, Nystrom explained.

Lindholm then prompted Nystrom to state her big news that she will also be getting married soon. Another significant life event on the horizon.
Social Media
As many fans will have seen throughout last week, players have been sharing their experiences during the tournament. Finland, led by Jenny Nystrom and Mathilda Lindholm, were active on social media, documenting their preparation and game days. 

-It is important because nowadays you can only get sponsors if you have followers. Like we see in Athletics, where they are creating a really good Instagram presence so they have sponsors. Social Media is a big part of being a player, Nystrom said.

This is particularly important for the young promising players that are currently coming through the ranks in Finland. 

Kalle Koljonen, an established and well-travelled singles player, commented on the young blood in the squad. 

-It makes me feel old, of course, I am only 26 and have many years to go, but I will be soon the oldest. 

Bronze medallists at the 2020 European Junior Championships in Lahti, less than 100km north-east of Vantaa, Joakim Oldorff and Nella Nyqvist are touted as the new European singles talents. They both had great experiences last week playing the likes of Viktor Axelsen and Yvonne Li respectively. 

-It was a really good opportunity. I think I did well. It is nice to see how the worlds best are playing, Oldorff said with a beaming smile. 

-It felt amazing to play against such good players and it will give me many experiences towards the future, Nyqvist announced. 

See you soon
There is a strong feeling for host nations, after events such as the European Mixed Team Championships, a seed of inspiration was sown. It is satisfying therefore to know that Europe’s major events will be returning to Finland in 2022. To find out more, watch the announcement interview here

To watch all of the matches from #EMTC21, visit
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