The president of the Estonian Olympic Committee, Urmas Sõõrumaa, expressed pride in Estonian youth athletes. “The performance at the Olympic Festival shows that the young generation is strong and broad-based. This is the recognition of the work and contribution of our trainers, federations, clubs, support personnel and sponsors, and this is a sign that the Estonian sport system is efficient. I wish everyone determination and wisdom in striving for their goals, and I hope that we will be hearing a lot about our young athletes over several decades in high-achievement sport,” Sõõrumaa said.
Merle Kaljurand, head of the Estonian delegation, said that the Estonian team demonstrated commitment and great results throughout the Olympic Festival, and its performance can be compared to the record-setting year 2005. “This shows that the new generation is very strong especially as the Olympic Festival has proven to be a good indicator for forecasting future stars of elite sport. the young athletes’ eyes are shining with enthusiasm; one can see that they have substantial potential for making it in elite sport. what must also be noted is the ultimately professional attitude of all our athletes,” Kaljurand stated.
This year’s European Youth Olympic Festival has seen remarkable success from the Estonian national team: our youth athletes won five medals, of which three were gold:
· gold medal in individual time trial cycling and gold in road race – cyclist Madis Mihkels (Academic Sports Club of the University of Tartu, trainer Caspar Austa; goes to Tartu Raatuse School)
· gold in 5000 m walk – field and track athlete Jekaterina Mirotvortseva (sports club Kalev Sillamäe, trainer Jevgeni Terentjev; goes to Sillamäe Kannuka School)
· bronze in individual time trial cycling – individual time trial cycling Laura Lizette Sander (Pärnu Kalevi Sports School, trainer Kaido Juurik; goes to Paikuse Basic School)
· bronze in judo (-60 kg) - judoka Viljar Lipard (Sports Club Audentes, trainers Vladimir Stepanjan, Dmitri Lepp, Aavo Põhjala, Tallinn Sports School; goes to Tallinn Laagna Gymnasium)
in addition to the medals, the national team won 17 places in the top ten during this Olympic Festival:
· Cycling: Frank Aron Ragilo, 7th place in individual time trial cycling
· Judo: Darja Mihhailova (-52 kg), Givi Kokhtashvili (-81 kg), Karl Tani Priilinn-Türk (-90 kg) – 9th place each
· Athletics: Pippi Lotta Enok, 4th place in heptathlon; Steven Sepp, 5th place in decathlon; Kristian Otlot, 7th place in 800 m run; Marit Kutman, 8th place in 200 m sprint; Kelly Heinpõld, 8th place in hammer throw; Maria Dudareva, 8th place in triple jump; Karl-Hendrik Palu, 10th place in 110 m hurdles
· Wrestling: Maarja Plaser, 5th place in girls freestyle (-57 kg); Kristo Merilain 9th place in boys Greco-Roman (-60 kg)
· Tennis: Andreas Sillaste, 9th–16th place in boys singles
· Swimming: Laura-Liis Valdmaa in 100 m backstroke and Demid Solodov 50 m freestyle – 9th place each; Laura-Liis Valdmaa, 10th place in 200 m backstroke
The Olympic festival saw national teams of 48 countries, of which 38 stated took medals home. The top of the medal table comprises Russia (66 medals, of which 28 gold), United Kingdom (25 medals, of which 11 gold), and Turkey (27 medals, of which 11 gold). With its three gold and two bronze medals, Estonia reached the 15th position in the medal table, getting ahead of such famously athletic countries as the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Denmark as well as its neighbours Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Since 1993, Estonian youth athletes have won a total of 30 medals. The sports in which Estonians have been especially successful are athletics and judo, having yielded 12 and 9 medals respectively to our athletes. These are followed by cycling with a total of 5 medals and tennis and swimming with 2 medals in each. The years when the Estonian national team won the largest number of medals were 2005 and 2019, with five medals each time. It was at the Olympic Festival in both years, when an Estonian athlete won two medals: this year, Madis Mihkels with two gold medals in cycling, and 14 years ago, field and track athlete Kaire Leibak with gold medals in triple jump and long jump.