Pekka Niemela, who has a head coaching experience in Finland, Japan and France, is now working with Turkey’s first generation ski jumpers. In Turkey, ski jumping is getting more and more popular but country’s only ski jumping hills are in Erzurum which will host the upcoming 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival. There only few weeks left for the organisation and Niemela is now working with Muhammed Ali Bedir, who’ll represent Turkey in ski jumping.  

Niemala has been working in Turkey for more than two years. He said that during this period, country made a big progress in ski jumping and added: “We had a triple victory for in FIS Race. We had FIS Cup victory thanks to Samet Karta. We also managed to get Continental Cup points with Arda İpçioğlu. And finally, we managed to reach the highest level, World Cup.”

“First generation is creating a culture”

Finnish coach realises that this is an important experience for his own career but he’s also happy and proud about the progress in Turkey.

“Turkey now has the first generation of ski jumpers. This generation will open the road for next generations. First generation is creating a culture and tradition. We are doing something unique. Most coaches don’t have a chance to experience something like this. It’s important for me to have a role in this and I take it very seriously.” 

“Turkey is a very young country”

When asked to compare his home country and Turkey, Niemela said that Finland is one of the countries with an old tradition in ski jumping. “We’ve won more than 50 Olympic medals in ski jumping and we have a tradition in this sport. Turkey has now its first generations ski jumpers. But in general, Turkey has a very young population but Finland is an old country.
“We have done good things but we want to do more. But there’s something more important which to attract girls and boys to this sport. This is our goal and hopefully, it’ll become reality in the future. Thanks to the new ski jumping hills, we can now recruit young athletes.”
“It’s my favourite”

Niemela also talked about the condition of Erzurum’s new ski jumping hills: “This hills are more than for EYOF. They are also enough for bigger events. It’s one of the most beautiful ski jumping facilities in the world. I’ve been to all of them and this is my favourite one at the moment.  

“A wonderful young man”

Turkey will be represented by only one athlete at EYOF 2017 Erzurum. 16 year-old Muhammed Ali Bedir getting ready for this huge task. And his coach Niemela thinks he’s ready for the event. 

“He’s a wonderful young man. He can surprise everybody. He has the perfect character for ski jumping. He’s still so young and he can accomplish great things. For example, two years ago his personal best was 65 metres but it’s 141 metres. This is maximum development for two years. But young athletes go through ups and downs, and this is normal.  He loves ski jumping and he’s hungry. So, it’s great work with him.”

“It’s a huge a mission”

And lastly, Niemela talked about the differences of working in a developing ski jumping and working in a country with a ski jumping tradition. “We don’t just focus on A Team or World Cup competitions. Our project is to recruit kid and train local coaches. So, it’s a huge and wide mission but this makes it interesting. 





Pekka Niemela, Head Coach of Turkish National Ski Jumping Team, talked about the ski jumping’s progress in Turkey. “Turkey has the first generation of ski jumpers. This generation will open the road for next generations. First generation is creating a ski jumping culture in Turkey.”