Audentes Sports Gymnasium welcomes 221 young athletes to start the school year


Audentes Sports Gymnasium, the only school where students are selected at the level of the Estonian Olympic Committee, welcomed 221 student athletes specialising in 26 sports to start the new school year in Tallinn and Otepää. Among its students, the sports gymnasium can boast a number of medal winners of international competitions in their age categories.

Pictured (from left to right): Audentes Sports Gymnasium 12 grade student athletes Timo Ander Lõhmus (volleyball), Gedly Tugi (athletics, javelin throw) and German Tepner (volleyball) 

Tõnu Tõniste, vice-president of the Estonian Olympic Committee and two-time Olympic medalist, urged the students to make maximum use of their studying at the Audentes Sports Gymnasium. “The road to the top is twisty and fraught with difficulties, challenges and obstacles. This is the road where you have to struggle with such questions as how to retain motivation, how to cope with your own and others’ expectations, how to remain true to yourself. These are the questions you will face and, I hope, you will find answers to in this school,” Tõniste said.

The principal of the Audentes Sports Gymnasium, Priit Ilver, says that the young athletes starting this school year are prepared for the fact that maximum effort will be required both in studies and in their athletic development. “We are bringing up young people who are independent, smart, strong and capable of winning medals in sports competitions and for their academic achievement alike: last school year saw 12 student athletes graduate from the Audentes Sports Gymnasium with medals for outstanding academic performance (9 gold and 3 silver medals). Young athletes attach great value to the education, training opportunities and supportive environment Audentes provides,” Ilver noted.

In the two cities where the Audentes Sports Gymnasium operates, the new school year started for a total 221 students today whereas 66 new students joined the ranks of the sports gymnasium in Tallinn and 16 in Otepää. In Tallinn, there are 22 sports available for the young athletes: majoring in athletics, basketball, volleyball, handball, judo, wrestling, swimming, tennis and shooting sports; there are also students training in golf, rhythmic gymnastics, football, carting, sailing, Thai boxing, triathlon, fencing, and, for the first time in the school, floorball, squash and dancesport. Those starting the new school year in the Otepää branch of the sports gymnasium are cross-country skiers, ski jumpers, Nordic combined athletes, biathletes, cyclists and orienteers.

In addition to teachers, the Audentes Sports Gymnasium employs a substantial staff of full-time coaches: 17 in Tallinn and 6 in the Otepää branch. Moreover, Audentes is also where two of Estonia’s five coaches of the highest, eighth category work: swimming coach Siiri Põlluveer and volleyball coach Peeter Vahtra.

The Audentes Sports Gymnasium helps youth athletes combine sports and studies by providing the ideal conditions for pursuing secondary school education and high achievements in sports at the same time. The schedule of the school allows athletes to train twice a day alongside their studies. Depending on the type of the elite sport, a student can study sports theory, a specific sport in depth and a trainer module. Graduates also have an option to obtain the professional qualification as trainers.

The decision to accept a young athlete to the Audentes Sports Gymnasium is made on the basis of his or her goals in sport, previous athletic achievements and academic performance. The students to study in Audentes are jointly selected by the Estonian Olympic Committee, the Audentes Sports Gymnasium and national sports associations.

Among the graduates of the sports gymnasium, there is a number of Estonian top athletes, for example, wrestlers Heiki Nabi and Epp Mäe, athletics stars Ksenija Balta, Mikk Pahapill, Janek Õiglane, Marek Niit and Roman Fosti, sumo wrestler Kaido Höövelson (Baruto), cyclists Tanel Kangert and Rein Taaramäe, sport shooter Peeter Olesk, tennis player Anett Kontaveit, volleyball player Robert Täht, basketball players Gregor Arbet and Indrek Kajupank, badminton player Raul Must and many others.

The training, accommodation and catering for the student athletes accepted to the Audentes Sports Gymnasium are financed by the Ministry of Education and Research.