Sunday, August 14, 2011

(empo-fioy) Seppo Paju - Finland's next sports hero

I have blogged about Finnish sports figures (primarily figure skaters) in the past, but I have not yet blogged about the person who will become Finland's next sports hero - Seppo Paju.

Paju, who is all of 16 years old, made the news in the United States in a recent sports competition.

Paju's sport? Disc golf.

The competition? The Pro Disc Gold World Championships, recently held in Santa Cruz, California. Those who have heard of Santa Cruz will not be surprised that a "disc golf" championship was held there.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported on Paju's triumph, and his massive monetary winnings.

In a distance exhibition event that was part of the Pro Disc Golf World Championships, competitors flung discs off the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf toward a basket 360 feet away on Main Beach for a cash prize.

And Paju's second throw was right on the money....

Competitors were given three chances in 90 seconds each to make an ace. Their first throws had the potential to net $5,000, and the second and third opportunities were for $500.

So Paju qualified for the $500. Now that's $500 in U.S. money, which is probably something like €20 at the moment. But it's still something - if Paju were an American, he'd probably lose his amateur status over it.

But that doesn't matter, because Paju is a member of the PROFESSIONAL Disc Gold Association. He has had a relatively good 2011, placing 8th in the European Open. Total winnings for the year (as of July 24) were over $3,000 (again, that's presumably something like €120).

And yes, I kid about the exchange rate. The Euro itself has had its share of troubles. I just wanted the opportunity to type the Euro symbol (€), now that I've reset my keyboards to recognize the "U.S. International layout"; this allows me to type all sorts of non-English symbols. I feel distinctly non-"ugly American" at the moment.
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