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MIINALA Erkki
Sport Goalball
NPC Finland   
GenderMen
Age30
Place of BirthKemi, FIN
Height1.67 m
Weight 83 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Visual impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Further Personal Information
Marital status
* unknown *
Residence
Espoo, FIN
Occupation
Communications Professional
Languages
English, Finnish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He first played goalball at age 10, and took up the sport competitively at age 19.
Why this sport?
He took up the sport competitively when he went with a friend to play for a club in the national league in Finland. "I [first] tried goalball when I was about 10 years old and I fell in love with the sport because it is really fast and tactical. A player who wants to be on top in goalball needs many important skills."
Club / Team
Old Power: Espoo, FIN
Name of coach
Timo Laitinen [national], FIN
Senior International Debut
Year
2008
Competing for
Finland
Tournament
International Tournament
Location
Tuusula, FIN
General Interest
Nicknames
Eki (Athlete, 08 Aug 2012)
Hobbies
Playing the drums. (tukilinja.fi, 04 Aug 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (tukilinja.fi, 04 Aug 2016)
Most influential person in career
His teammates. (Athlete, 08 Aug 2012)
Hero / Idol
Finnish goalball player Juha Oikarainen, Lithuanian para-athlete and goalball player Saulius Leonavicius. (Athlete, 08 Aug 2012)
Injuries
In July 2016 he was troubled by injuries to his lower back and right hamstring. (tukilinja.fi, 23 Aug 2016)

In December 2015 he underwent surgery to his lower back. (tukilinja.fi, 08 Aug 2016)

In 2009 he suffered problems with his lower back that required several months of recovery. (Athlete, 08 Aug 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I love to play in front of a big audience because I get more power from enthusiastic and supportive people, and I'm a showman. I catch fire giving my best, when I'm backed against the wall." (Paralympic Games Facebook page, 02 May 2016)
Awards and honours
He was named Most Valuable Player [MVP] of the 2014 World Championships in Espoo, Finland. (goalball2014.fi, 07 Jul 2014)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (tukilinja.fi, 04 Aug 2016)
Impairment
He was born with retinitis pigmentosa. (tukilinja.fi, 04 Aug 2016; Athlete, 08 Aug 2012)
Other information
OCCUPATION
He works as a transcriber. "As in goalball, a transcriber must be able to focus on listening at all times, because you must catch and write down every word from the recordings." (paralympic.org, 20 Jul 2016)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He has played the drums in rock music band Free Heart. He has also been one of the organisers of the Super European Goalball League [SEGL] in Northern Europe. (paralympic.org, Jul 2015)

STAMP HONOUR
He was one of a number of athletes who featured on stamps produced by the Finnish postal service ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. (paralympic.org, Jul 2015)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
1 2012 Team  
9 2016 Team  
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
2 2014 Team  
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
2 2015 Team