Meet Australia’s First National Finska Team: The Finksaroos
Australia’s first national Finska team is about to head off to compete in the World Championships AKA the equivalent of the Finska Olympics.
Finska is a Finnish throwing game that has taken off in Australia over the past few years and ignited calls for a national team.
Damien Landais is the head coach of the Finskaroos and has been working towards fostering a greater awareness for the game in Australia.
“I moved here in 2018 and since then I really wanted to build up something. We organised an Australian Finska Championship and I’m really proud of what we have reached and where we are going,” said Landais.
View this post on Instagram
The game of Finska is played with 12 wooden pins and the aim of the game is to get to 50 points. You amass points by knocking down wooden pins that each have different values labelled on them ranging from 1 through to 12. The pins are knocked down with a larger wooden pin called the Finska, or as it’s called in Europe the Mölkky.
Each player takes turns knocking down the pins and to win you need to reach 50 points exactly, because if you go over 50 points your score drops back to 25. Additionally if you miss hitting any pins three times in a row you’re eliminated.
The Finska World Championships kicked off back in 1996 and since that first tournament the competition and broader interest for the game has only grown.
Outside of the World Championships other major competitions include the Austrian Open, Deutsche Meisterschaft, Japan Open, Spanish National Championship and Mexican Open.
There are two major tournaments the Finskaroos will be competing in at the World Championships. The first is the Nation’s Trophy, which sees each country submit one team to battle it out for the gold medal.
The other is a secondary game that allows countries to enter multiple teams and this competition will have roughly 200 teams throwing pins for glory.
When asked what chance the Finskaroos have at the World Championships, head coach Landais replied, “definitely good and a good chance to go far. Obviously with Finska there’s always a bit of luck and it’s also their first big tournament so there will always be a bit of stress.”
Our Aussie Finskaroos will have their work cut out for them. Finland is a team to watch as they’ve taken out the Nation’s Trophy every year until 2013 when France broke away and came out on top.
France has developed their Finska team heavily over the past 10 years with around a thousand people playing in the Finska French open. Needless to say the competition is going to be tough.
“Finland are the team to beat as well as France” said Finskaroos player Bernie Bolger.
“Japan is also one to watch as the game is getting big in Japan. I’m sure they’ll be building a number of very competitive teams, we’ve been watching [them] on YouTube at the moment because they’re uploading a lot of trick shot videos which are very intimidating,” said Bolger.
Other nations like Estonia and Poland are also rumoured to have competitive teams at this year’s championship. However years of training and hard work under head coach Landais has set up the Finskaroos with a fighting chance against the world’s best players.
Finskaroo Hugh Raper also believes they’re in with a shot to bring home gold. “I think when we started off no, not at all, but with the hard work we’ve put in and the training provided by Damien I think we’re definitely in with a shot.”
For head coach Damien and the Finskaroos heading to France in August they hope their international pursuit for gold will elevate the profile of the sport in Australia and encourage others to pick up the pins.