November 28, 2023
This weekend will be the start of something new and exciting in women’s handball. Nine teams will start competing to become the best team in the Baltic Sea region. The tournament will begin in Estonia and the last round will be played in Lithuania at the end of march.
There will be four participants from Lithuania: Kaunase Žalgiris,Vilniuse Eglė, VMSM Sostinės Tauras – VHC and CASCADA HC Garliava SM. Two from Finland and Latvia: GrIFK, Dicken, REIR/Dobele and SK Latgols. In addition one Estonian team, Mistra, will be competing. “There are only three teams in the Estonian league, so the Baltic league will be a great change of pace for us,” started the reigning Estonian champion and cup winner Mistra´s playmaker Kim-Ly Hoang.
The Finnish teams met last year in the domestic championship and GrIFK was crowned the local champion. “When we were presented with the opportunity to participate in this tournament, we did not hesitate for a second. I believe this league is a great chance for all the participating teams. In Finland we see the same opponents every week, this will give the girls an opportunity to see a different side of handball. Our goals are to get international experience through tough games,” continued the head coach of GrIFK, Patrik Johanson.
“We are excited for our first trip to Estonia. The games offer variety to our domestic championship. We hope to take a step forward through these games. And ofcourse to add some quality to our game and of course develop our young players. We have watched a lot of videos, trained hard and once the referee gives the opening whistle, we will be ready,” added the coach of Dicken, Petri Väyrynen.
One Lithuanian team player, goalkeeper of Kaunas Žalgiris, Darja Belokurova will have a sort of homecoming. She was playing in the Estonian league last year, but now has to play against them. “We are looking forward to the new challenge. We have dropped out of European games, so this is our only international competition left. For me, it is especially interesting to play against Mistra, because I have competed against them for years with the Estonian club Mella and now can do that in a new shirt. We want to take as many points as possible and hope to be among the first three at the end of the tournament,” said Belokurova.
The Latvian team Latgols is currently at the top of the ranking at their domestic league. Dobele is fourth. “We had a preseason meeting with Latgols and although we lost the match by two points, we hope to make a correction in that and keep the points home. All in all we hope to give our home fans a great handball experience,” finished Estonian playmaker Hoang.
First tournament in the women’s Baltic Sea league:
16:00 Mistra/Estonia -REIR/Dobele/Latvia
18:00 SK Latgols/Latvia – GrIFK/Finland
20:00 Dicken/Finland – Kaunas Žalgiris/Lithuania
14:00 GrIFK/Finland – REIR/Dobele/Latvia
16:00 SK Latgols/Latvia– Dicken/Finland
18:00 Kaunas Žalgiris/Lithuania – Mistra/Estonia
10:00 Dicken/Finland – REIR/Dobele/Latvia
12:00 Kaunas Žalgiris/Lithuania – GrIFK/Finland
14:00 Mistra/Estonia – SK Latgols/Latvia
On the photo: Mistra is the only Estonian team in the newly formed Womens Baltic Sea League (Photo Credit : Arvi Sirm/Estonian Handball Federation)