Sports round-up: Basketball league to begin with bang, medal-less Olympics on the horizon
The Estonian basketball domestic league season will begin today, on Wednesday, with TÜ/Rock facing Kalev/Cramo in Tartu. Between them, the two have won all championship titles since 2005.
This year's league has nine teams with Valga-Valka, Audentese SG, AVIS Rapla, Rakvere Tarvas, Pärnu Sadam, TLÜ/Kalev and TTÜ KK also taking part.
The teams will play two games at home and two away against each opponent, except for Rock and Cramo, who will play fewer games as they are taking part in international tournaments, so some results will count double for them.
Eight best teams will enter the play-off rounds and a new champion will be crowned in spring. Rock is the current title holder, with Cramo winning four years in the row before that.
Medal drought to continue?
According to Dutch statistics company Infostrada, Estonia will win zero medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Estonia did not win a single medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but has not had a medal-less summer games since 1996, when coming fifth and sixth in four fields.
Infostrada had previously predicted four medals for Estonia, for wrestler Heiki Nabi, fencer Nikolai Novosjolov, the women's fencing team and discus thrower Gerd Kanter. Later it revised the predicition to just Nabi, and now even that has been taken away from us.
Lithuania is predicted to win five medals, Finland two and Latvia one. The United States (95 medals), China (84 medals) and Russia (70 medals) are expected to top the leaderboard.
Estonia won two medals at the 2012 games (silver for Nabi and bronze for Kanter), another two in 2008 (gold for Kanter and silver in the men's double sculls with Jüri Jaanson and Tõnu Endrekson), three medals in 2004 (silver for Jaanson in the men's single sculls, bronze for both Indrek Pertelson in judo and Aleksander Tammert in discus).
In 2000, Erki Nool won a gold in decathlon and Aleksei Budõlin and Pertelson both got a bronze in judo but in different weight categories. Before that Erika Salumäe had won a gold in track cycling and twins Tõnu and Toomas Tõniste a bronze in a sailing.
Estonia's best ever showing at a summer Olympic games came in 1936, when winning seven medals (Kristjan Palusalu - two golds from wrestling, Nikolai Stepulov - silver in boxing, August Neo - silver and bronze in wrestling, Arnold Luhaäär - bronze in weightlifting, Voldermar Väli - bronze in wrestling). Estonia also picked up five medals at the 1928 summer games (two golds and a bronze in wrestling, a silver in weightlifting, and a bronze in a men's sailing event).
In 1924, Estonia won six medals, including Eduard Pütsep (gold in wrestling), Alfred Neuland (silver in weightlifting), Aleksander Klumberg (bronze in decathlon), Jaan Kikkas (bronze in weightlifting), Harald Tammer (bronze in weightlifting) and Roman Steinberg (bronze in wrestling). At its first ever summer games in 1920, Estonia won three medals with Alfred Neuland (gold in weightlifting), Jüri Lossmann (silver in the marathon) and Alfred Schmidt (silver in weightlifting).