Riikka Lehtonen, 40, who changed volleyball floors to sand a few years ago, returned victoriously to competitions with her partner Niina Ahtiainen in the opening round of the beach volleyball championship tour in Sastamala.

Lehtonen and Ahtiainen covered the reading of their training teammates Anniina Parkkinen and Taru Lahti-Liukkonen in the Finnish national team 2–0 (21–16, 21–15).

- We train together every day, so familiar this was. This was the case today, Riikka Lehtonen said in a press release from the Volleyball Association.

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In July, the 181-centimeter Lehtonen, who turns 41 in July, will “dominate” the volleyball association as a fighter player online, especially in the first round.

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The team Lehtonen-Ahtiainen, who returned from the forced break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, last played in a race tournament at the turn of August-September on a world tour in Rome.

- Yes, of course there was a different atmosphere here than when training, at least the places now feel much more sore than after training, Lehtonen commented in the press release.

A familiar winning duo in men

The men's number one is the familiar duo Jyrki Nurminen - Santeri Sirén. In the final match, Jarmo Viljamaa and Saku Viljamaa defeated by numbers 2–0 (21–14, 21–12). Looking to the international fields, Nurminen and Sirén continued on the domestic fields from where they left off last season and settled the tournament without losing any.

- Ball-safe performance It is good to continue this towards the next dawn of the summer, Nurminen – Sirén commented in the press release.

Next time, the duo, who live in the Helsinki metropolitan area, will compete on 27-28. June in the Estonian tour tournament in Tallinn.

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Santeri Sirén (right) and Jyrki Nurminen won the men's tournament. Second place went to Jarmo Viljamaa (left) and Saku Viljamaa.

Photo: Volleyball Association