Thursday, June 14, 2012

World Games 2013 - Special Olympics - Floorball

Many people think that the upcoming WFC 2012 is the largest Floorball happening we have to look forward to during the next couple of months.
Floorballcentral however think that the World Games - Special Olympics in Korea January 2013 is the VERY big thing we have to look forward too - this might have a good impact upon the next Floorball development. This is the first Multi Sport Global event that include Floorball!

So we checked in real quick with one of the men behind this event, Mr. Steen Houman from Denmark.

How does it feel to be personally involved in the first major global multisport event for Floorball?
It feels good, but its not me alone who is responsible for this. We have a great team with people from Austria, Poland, Schwitzerland and of course Denmark. We are 3 from Denmark, with me being the chair of our group. Being in the same country and just 45 min away from each other, its easy for us to meet and plan our moves.
Obviously we are thrilled with the progress and looking forward to January when the games will begin. Also I must mentioned the great support from IFF.

As Floorball will be a demostration sport at the World Games Special olympics in Korea 2013, what version of Floorball will be played?
We will play Kleinfeld, smaller court and 3 players and a goalie. We have choosen this version as an introduction to floorball. This in order to make it more easy to start floorball in more countries. Floorball is a new sport, and if we want it to be a succes, we must make it easy to start it up.

What more is done in term of Floorball towards the global Special Olympic movement - in terms of education material, and information besides of the demonstration games itself?
We have a ressource team, and we have made a development plan towards 2015. This include some of the issues you're mentioning. One of our advantage is that we play with almost excact rules as the one IFF have, this means we can use all the material from IFF.
One of our goals is to make floorball the fastest growing sport inside Special Olympic, and by 2015 to have 15.000 players worldwide and to be played in 3 regions with 24 countries involved.

Floorballcentral thinks that it is in particular interesting with these games since they also feature Floor Hockey as a discipline for the World Games. Could you develop this subject a bit? Do you think Floor Hockey athletes will be in particular interested in Floorball?
Floorball and floorhockey looks similar, but there big difference. Floorball have IFF, where floorhockey only is played in SO. Floorhockey is funny to play, but its expensive and you need much more protection gear compared to floorball.
You could say floorball is easier to play and easier to start up out of an economic point of view. But in the end, I believe that one should play what you think is the best for you. So if people like other sports better than floorball, we are fine with this, but if you get the floorball fever, then you will be hooked...

What is your personal opinion about Floorball as a demo sport at the world games - is this a one night stand or the beginning to a more lasting relationship?
This is the first step to become a regonized and official sport at SO. We have done a lot of effort to convince people inside SO that floorball is the right thing. In 2017 Austria will be the host, and floorball will be part at the games there.
Again this is the succes of our support team and IFF. Together with IFF we had a demogame at the WFC2011 for women in the intermission in one of the semifinals.
You can see a clip here 
(clip embedded at end of this post too)
At the WFC2012 for men, we will again have a demogame in one of the semifinals. Again this has been succeded in close corporation with IFF and the Ressourceteam

Is there any ideas or estimates done at this point on how much global media coverage Floorball might get from the participation at the world games?
Good question, there are a lot of media out there when the World games are played, and also you have a lot of VIPs out there. We are planning to do a VIP game, and who could participate, well it could be Bono from U2, its people in this level we are talking about.
But one of the reason for IFF to support floorball at SO, is of course to see floorball being played at all kind of levels, and this is also one of the things IOC look into when, when they are considering changes at the Olympic.

Is there anything else you want to add, at this point and in term of the planning for this big Floorball event?
Floorball fever, that is what we hope to spread. When you first tried floorball, most people says, hey this is fun, can I join. And this is one of our ambitions for the World games, to show a lot of people about floorball, so after the World games we will see more countries starting up floorball.
About the planning of the World Games, we just been out in Korea, and I believe we have a good setup and we will make a big succes together with the organizing commitee, who are very determined to make this event a succes. In total 2500 people will be part of the world games, and you will have an olympic village, just as the traditional Olympic games.

In some sports they "accommodate" the sport to fit athletes with special needs. In what way do you think that Floorball is accommodated to fit athletes with special needs this time?
We dont have to this, which is quite good. If you know floorball, then you can play. In many other sports they have changed the rules to fit the athletes, this is not the question here, which agian means we can use the material that IFF have produced, and much of the material is made in several languages as well.

9) Will Denmark win the European football (soccer and it is played as we ask our questions) championships? And what team will win SO in Korea 2013?
In our hearts we always belive that we can win, we did it 1992, so 20 years after why not...but its difficult, we need the right result against Germany in our last group match to go through to the quaterfinals...
Regarding the question of who will the first World Games, I would like to say that Sweden and Finland are BIG favorites, but we have kindly asked them not to bring forward their best players at this tournament. Its important at this demonstration to have many games that will be tight, so results like 20-0 would not be good. But still Sweden and Final are strong contenders with Russia being the dark horse, and with Denmark as a team who could surprise.

10) Is it not amazing that it is Special Olympics that pave the way for Floorball - and not the other way around as has happened in so many other more "antique" sports?
Its been a long journey for floorball at Special Olympic, first tournament and seminar was back in 2008, and since then we have worked and now we see results. This thanks to the Ressource team, who consist of Heinrich Olsen (Austria), Aldo Donnelli (Schwitzerland, Jesper Hviid (Denmark) and Jonas Hviid (Denmark).
Inside Special Olympic its been Mariusz Damento who is responsible for sports, who have put a lot of effort in floorball.
From IFF great support from both John Liljelund, Tomas Eriksson and Merita Bruun.
All this people have supported us and made these progress possible.
Floorball is on the way, also at Special Olympic, IFF have the motto, one ball, one world, Floorball. You could add, floorball is for all.

Floorballcentral Thanks Mr Houman for his dedication and spirit in helping us with this outstanding post!

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Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!