Joona Heinänen: hot prospects to watch in 2022 - Anthony Barela and Elias Luukkonen
Joona Heinänen (PDGA rating 1008) is one of the top power throwers in Finland. His arm speed is from another level. Joona's 2021. highlight was a bronze medal from European Disc Golf Championship. Follow Joona on Instagram.
Which US players do you think will crush it in 2k22 and why?
I think that the Top 3 US players will remain the same as for the previous years (Wysocki, McBeth, McMahon) and they will continue to crush it also this year but the competition is getting tighter and tighter as we have seen throughout the last couple of years.There is always around 50 players in the mix who can win the event and my prediction for 2022 is that we are going see a couple of new winners on DGPT!
And from Europe, your thoughts?
Can't name any certain players but from what I know at least in Finland people are really dedicated to the off-season and I know many players that are training harder than ever. Many Finns also have plans to tour more than ever in the US. So Finland is definitely going up in the world rankings!
Who will win the Finnish PRO Tour, EuroTour, Euro PRO Tour in the MPO division?
For Finnish PRO Tour I have to say myself. I have trained a lot this off-season and as soon as these restrictions are over I'm going to keep on training so I’m going to be at my best next summer and who knows, maybe win the whole tour! In terms of the EuroTour and the Euro PRO Tour, it is really difficult to predict any winners because I don’t have any idea who is going to do a full tour there.
What about Finland, Sweden and Estonia – who will win the local championships in the MPO division?
If I have to pick one person from each country the list would be the following:
Finland: Väinö Mäkelä, last year's champ and the 2022 championships are in Turku where Väinö just moved so I think he’s going to be strong there!
Sweden: Linus Carlsson, there is only one answer to this. Linus has won Swedish championships now 2 years in a row with a 20 shot lead, so he’s quite dominant!
Estonia: Albert Tamm, he wants it so much that nobody else is going to have a chance!
Hot prospects – which US and EU players will make the biggest progress and why?
US: I’d like to see AB (Anthony Barela) compete for podium places more on DGPT, no special reasons for this, I just like how he throws the disc.
EU: Elias Luukkonen is going to make big progress this off-season. He has a great shot selection and now in the winter he’s training both throwing and the physical side and I think that’s the key to success!
Photo: SFL / Tuomas Pulliainen
Your 3 go to discs and why?
I think that the first disc to come in my mind is no surprise for anyone. It's the GOLD LINE MERCY – it has a superb glide, holds any line and it is the straightest disc I have ever thrown.
Next one is the CH/STAR TEEBIRD, super reliable, has also a great glide and goes for miles if needed.
'And who doesn’t love big bombs so my last choice is going to be the DESTROYER, stable enough to handle a lot of power and it has a great flight pattern.
Could you also share a small overview of your plans for the 2022 season?
I don’t have any exact plans for 2022 yet because Finnish PRO Tour isn’t even announced yet. But I'm playing mostly in Finland so my main focus is on Finnish PRO Tour, European Open, some smaller competitions and maybe a couple of European PRO Tour events.
USDGC has always been one of my disc golf bucket list goals so maybe I will get qualification to go there. If I get that, I'll do a couple more tournaments around that in the US. Even without the USDGC qualification I’m planning to go there but nothing is sure yet!