European Games focus for Finn, father and plumber Mikko Juutilainen
Mikko Juutilainen has shot at least one stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup every year since 2011. He’s not at every event, and often the lone Finnish representative when he does shoot – but he’s a familiar face on the circuit.
This year is his sixth visit to Shanghai.
“This is the only stage I’m shooting because I’m self-funded, so I have to choose,” explained Mikko. “I will also shoot the European Games. I decided not to shoot the world championships because my daughter is two years old and I want to stay home and spend time with her.”
The 29-year-old is not the same as many of the compound archers who regularly shoot these international events.
Whether from prize money, sponsorship or coaching, a good number of Mikko’s competitors make their living from archery. Mikko doesn’t; he balances the sport with his family and a full-time job as a plumber.
He works for the government in Finland to collect extra time off to spend on archery.
“The reason I’m here is to practise more than at home. I want to get some good scores and also to experience the culture and food, which is very different,” said Mikko. “Four weeks ago I was shooting indoors in Finland. The weather is still cold.”
Given the lengthened winters in Helsinki, it’s perhaps little surprise that he’s more comfortable shooting indoors. Mikko loves 18 metres – and has proven talented at it, having shot his first clean-900 in Vegas in February.
But this summer is about than an off-season spent training for his preferred archery discipline.
“When I found out compound was going to be at the European Games, my first goal was to secure a place,” said Mikko. He won a spot at last summer’s European Championships.
“I want to be on the podium there.”
Finland has three quota places for the archery competitions at the Minsk 2019 European Games. Two are for recurve archers, one man and one woman, and the third is in the compound men’s competition.
The second stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Shanghai, China on 6-12 May.