Team Estonia to Rio big despite tough standards

Vasakult: Julia Beljajeva, Irina Embrich ja Erika Kirpu.

PHOTO: Margus Ansu

Next week, it will be 100 days till Rio Olympic Games starting on August 5th. Every four years, it is getting harder to get the ticket. While sets of medals keep increasing, lots of events are being narrowed down regarding numbers of participants. Thereby, average levels of those who qualify keeps rising. 

Regarding Rio, the rising average levels have had no negative impact on Team Estonia and the ranks already outnumber London, four years back, or 2000 in Sydney.

Ideally, we might outdo the 2008 team sent to Beijing – a whopping for us 47 sportsmen. «In all likelihood there will be around 40,» predicted Estonian Olympic Committee sports director Martti Raju.

Officially, Estonians hold 31 tickets with four pending.  

This summer, Estonians will definitely be represented in 9 events (athletics, bicycling, wrestling, fencing, rowing, sailing, weight lifting, badminton, swimming). Options are open for tennis, triathlon, judo, plus a free ticket for shooting. «Shooting is the only event where free ticket may be ours. A tiniest chance remains regarding tennis,» admitted Mr Raju. Also, pullers, arrow shooters, boxers and beach volleyball players just might make it.

Within the secured events, athlete may be added falling below standards such as discus thrower Martin Kupper. As second badminton player, Kati Tolmoff hopes to go. And perhaps bicyclists Liisi Rist and Martin Loo.



Estonian team sizes

Rio 2016: a minimum of 35 sportsmen, a minimum of 9 various events

London 2012: 32 sportsmen, 11 events

Beijing 2008: 47 sportsmen, 13 events

Athens 2004: 42 sportsmen, 10 events

Sydney 2000: 33 sportsmen, 11 events

Atlanta 1996: 43 sportsmen, 13 events

Barcelona 1992: 37 sportsmen, 13 events

Berlin 1936: 37 sportsmen, 8 events

Los Angeles 1932: 2 sportsmen, 2 events

Amsterdam 1928: 20 sportsmen, 5 events

Paris 1924: 44 sportsmen, 5 events

Antwerp 1920: 14 sportsmen, 3 events



Estonian sportsmen qualified for Rio

Athletics: Leila Luik, Liina Luik, Lily Luik, Roman Fosti, Tiidrek Nurme (all marathon), Rasmus Mägi, Jaak-Heinrich Jagor (both 400 m hurdles), Gerd Kanter (discus), Magnus Kirt, Tanel Laanmäe (both javelin), Maicel Uibo, Karl Robert Saluri (both decathlon), Ksenija Balta (long jump), Grit Šadeiko (heptathlon).

Bicycling: two spaces for highway group event.

Fencing (epee): Nikolai Novosjolov, Julia Beljajeva, Irina Embrich, Erika Kirpu. Spare fencer Kristina Kuusk. They will also compete as team.

Rowing (four-boat): Andrei Jämsä, Allar Raja, Tõnu Endrekson, Kaspar Taimsoo.

Sailing: Ingrid Puusta (RS:X), Karl-Martin Rammo (Laser), Deniss Karpak (Finn).

Wrestling: Epp Mäe (female, -75 kg), Ardo Arusaar (Greco-Roman, -98 kg), Heiki Nabi (Greco-Roman, -130 kg).

These four confirmations are pending:

Weight lifting: Mart Seim (+105 kg)

Badminton: Raul Must

Swimming: if none meets standards, one man and one woman gets to go anyway