Bus carrying young Estonian judoka crashes in Latvia, coach dies
A minibus carrying a group of Estonian junior athletes, who were on their way to an international competition in Alūksne, crashed in Latvia on Saturday morning. Vladimir Klinkov, the coach driving the bus, died at the scene.
Four of the seven children who were in the bus were taken to the local hospital. Their lives are not in danger.
"This is a great loss not just for the club, but primarily to Estonian judo as a whole. For us and for friends, this is an irreparable loss," said Valeri Duran, member of the Põhjakotkas judo club where Klinkov coached and whose members were in the bus.
"Estonia judo lost another great coach. But he was, above all, a good person. I knew him when I was still a young athlete myself. There is not much I can say - many of our coaches drive athletes to competition, this is how such things happen, I am very sorry. All I can do is offer my condolences," said Aleksei Budõlin, the head coach of the Estonian judo team.
Vladimir Klinkov was an Estonian champion in judo and the Russian martial art sambo. He had been working for Põhjakotkas since 1995. Klinkov was 47 years old.