During the Czech Open 2019, we spoke with Toms Bitmanis. The Latvian national team player gave us some insight into his club, his experience in Sweden and the national team.
Toms Bitmanis is a 23 years old Latvian player, who currently plays for TALSU NSS/KRAUZERS, a team from Latvian highest league. He also has experience from Sweden (Kalmarsund, Granlo, Sundsvall) and played at the World Floorball Championships in 2016 and 2018.
We met him at the Czech Open 2019 tournament, where Talsu played in the Pro category, which is the middle category (below Elite but above Open). Bitmanis just played the game against Karlovy Vary, a team from the 2nd highest Czech league, which Talsu lost 2-1.
What can you say about the game, the opponent and what do you think of your own performance?
It was a tough game, the opponent was pretty good, they were better than the first one [Start 98 Praha, also from Czech 2nd league, Talsu NSS won 5-3], they move the ball quite well which makes it a bit hard to play against them. I think my own performance was not so good, mainly physically. This is the start of the season so it is not so easy now, but I feel it’s getting better and better after every game.
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You used to play forward, but now you started as a defender, will this be your position now?
Yes, I have played as a forward for many years, but since last year I’ve been playing as a defender here in Talsu. So that is my position right now.
What do you think about the tournament, the competition level, what are your goals here on Czech Open?
So far it’s pretty good I think. The teams and the level of the game are good, everything’s going right. This tournament is a great experience for us as a team because we are very young. Starting in the Pro category in the Czech Open is a big first step for us, especially for the young guys in our team.
Your team TALSU NSS/KRAUZERS finished 4th in the Latvian league last year. Do you think you can make a better result this season and where do you think you need to get better to do so?
It is hard to say right now, as we lost some players, three or four good players from the first line. So now it’s time for the young players in the team to show up. The time will show us what we are capable of.
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You spent some time in Sweden, playing for Kalmarsund, Granlo and Sundsvall. How did this experience shape you, what can you say about that?
Yes, it was a great experience for me. I was in three teams in one season, but I can say only the best things about that. Three cities, a different kind of floorball, high level. I have really enjoyed it.
Where do you see the differences between Swedish leagues and the Latvian league?
Definitely speed, the players in Sweden are a lot more skillful. Of course, the game tempo is much higher in Sweden. Players don’t make as many mistakes as we do in the Latvian leagues. It is a big difference to play in Sweden or to play in Latvia.
About the national team. Your goal is obviously to qualify to WFC 2020 in Helsinki, do you think Latvia can challenge the top 4 countries and finally take a spot in the semifinals?
Yes, of course, that is our target: to get in the top 4. We already beat Czechia in Prague, so that was one step for us. Unfortunately, we still only finished at 5th place. But I think, with the new coaches from Finland, we will definitely be better and better after some time.
Where do you think the Latvian national team needs to get better to accomplish such target?
It is definitely the play with the ball, that is what we are drilling. We also need to not make as many mistakes as we do now. To play with the ball and move better, we need to work on the tactical things too.
This article was written by Petr Havej. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at [email protected]