The Defence Forces and the NOC celebrated the Week of Sport with the ‘NATO test’ 


To celebrate the last day of Week of Sport in Estonia, the Commander of the Defence Forces, Major General Martin Herem, the Minister of Culture, Tõnis Lukas, the president of the Estonian Olympic Committee, Urmas Sõõrumaa, Olympic winner Kristina Šmigun-Vähi and a great number of other renowned Estonian athletes took the general physical fitness test known as the ‘NATO test’ during the Fitness Morning event of the Defence Forces at the Kalev Stadium in Tallinn.

The so-called ‘NATO’ physical fitness test is used in the Defence Forces for assessing the fitness level of its active service personnel. The test consists of three parts: push-ups in a front plank position for two minutes, sit-ups for two minutes, and a timed 3200 m run. The maximum number of points that can be awarded for each part is 100, which makes 300 for the three parts, and one needs to get a total of 180 points to pass the test. The test-taker’s age and sex are taken into account, too.

 Nineteen people in total took the test today at Kalev Stadium, including ‘Ironman’ Raivo E. Tamm, singer Inger, who is one of the patrons of the Week of Sport, former Minister of Culture, Indrek Saar, and representatives of the allied forces. Five participants scored the maximum possible number of points, which is 300: Urmas Sõõrumaa, Joel Puulmann from the Cyber Command of the Defence Forces, soldier of the allied forces Abby Morrow, Nike coach Katrena Tenno and an adviser to the Ministry of Culture, Jarko Koort. Raido Mitt, the Elite Sport Manager at the NOC, scored one point below the maximum.

The Commander of the Defence Forces, Major General Martin Herem, takes the NATO test twice a year: once to pass the mandatory fitness assessment and once during the Week of Sports, which he has been doing for several years now. “There are so many of us here today, and we are setting a good example: people will see that those who talk about sport and healthy lifestyle a lot can actually pass this test themselves. All the participants scored good results today. Still, the test is merely a way to assess what shape you are in, but you need to exercise regularly, otherwise you will not be able to pass it,” Herem said.  

Tõnis Lukas, the Minister of Culture, who scored 275 points, agreed and added that the Defence Forces’ Fitness Morning was a special occasion. “Such an event is certainly necessary because it sets an example: everyone stays fit. You basically need to stay in shape, and then you will be healthier, too. Seeing how the others passed me by did not intimidate me in the slightest. I was taking the test in my age group and was quite close to the maximum result there,” Lukas noted.

 The NOC president, Urmas Sõõrumaa, who has scored maximum 300 for the second year in a row, says he did the test last year better than before, and this time he know exactly what to expect: “I really didn’t think I would be able to do the required number of sit-ups but managed to do even more. Our country’s defence concept is based on the reserve force, and the test is a particularly good criterion to make sure that the reserve is good and strong. If Estonian residents could pass the NATO test, at least meeting the minimum requirements for their age group, the nation would be much healthier, and the state would spend less money on healthcare,” Sõõrumaa remarked.  

For the Olympic winner Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, today’s NATO test was the first time she felt genuine competitive edge in the ten-year period since she retired from elite sport. “When I got the bib number before the 3200 m run, I felt the trill of the race. Still, I seriously overestimated my shape; I am not that good anymore. It was like my eyes wanted me to move faster, but the body could not keep up. What is more, I had counted the laps wrong and spurted at one point, thinking there were three left while there were in fact four. There was bloody taste in my mouth!”  

Having scored 264 points, Šmigun-Vähi said she was glad she had taken part in the NATO test. “I go jogging two-three times per week, but I do not regularly do sit-ups or push-ups. Those who do some exercise three-four times a week can actually pass this NATO test! I believe people in Estonia need it,” Šmigun-Vähi added.

Singer Inger, one of the patrons of the Week of Sport, also took part in the event and scored 290 points. “I had never faced such a challenge before; this was my first time and certainly not last. It can only get better with every year,” Inger noted, adding that she had planned to adjust effort depending on how the was feeling. “Today’s experience showed how much the mind helps the body. If you tell yourself you can do it, you will be able to!”

During the European Week of Sport held between 23 and 30 September, more than 1100 sporting events took place in Estonia with a view to providing as many local people as possible with positive fitness-related impressions and experiences. The Week of Sport in Estonia has been organized by the NOC for six years now. More information can be found at

The Week of Sport in Estonia is organized by the Estonian Olympic Committee in collaboration with the association “Sport Kõigile”. The organization of the Week of Sport is supported by the Erasmus+ program, the Ministry of Culture and Coop Eesti.