Big sports weekend – epic wins and complete failures
It was a huge weekend for Estonian athletes with tennis, basketball, football players all in action, with news also coming in from other fields.
First up was Anett Kontaveit, long known as Estonia's second best female tennis player, but after wins in the US Open on Friday and Saturday, she will oust Kaia Kanepi from the spot. Kanepi has been Estonia's best for a decade.
Kontaveit (WTA 152, but is likely to pass the 100 mark, once new rankings come out), defeated Casey Dellacqua (WTA 60) 7:5, 6:2, then Anastasia Pavlychenkova (WTA 31) 7:5, 6:4, then in the third round, Madison Brengle (WTA 47) 6:2, 3:6, 6:0. On Sunday, Kontaveit was up against Venus Williams (WTA 23) in the fourth round of the US Open, but that is where her fairytale tournament ended, in a 6:2, 6:1 defeat.
The national basketball team played its first European Championship game in 14 years on Saturday, but might have wanted to wait a few more years as the team lost by 23 points to the Czech Republic. Estonia did manage to win the last quarter, but had lost the previous three by around 10 points each. Siim-Sander Vene was Estonia's best, scoring 18 points.
On Sunday, Estonia faced Belgium. Before the tournament, Estonian fans had high expectations, hoping the team would collect two wins against any combination of the Czech Republic, Belgium, Ukraine and Latvia, but will now have to beat both of the last two teams, having also lost to Belgium.
Belgium raced into a 18-point lead in the first quarter, adding 10 more to its lead in the next quarter, and winning the game 55:84.
Estonia will face Ukraine on Monday, then Latvia on Wednesday, followed by Lithuania.
The national football team also had an important game, against Lithuania in a must-win Euro 2016 qualifying match in Tallinn. Estonia had one point more than Lithuania, but was two points from third place and qualification for the play-off round. Estonia beat Lithuania 1-0 thanks to Konstantin Vassiljev's 20th goal from 80 games for the national team. He scored on the 71th minute after good work by Sergei Zenjov. Slovenia will play Switzerland later today and if the latter wins, Estonia will remain in third spot at least until Tuesday.
Estonia will face Slovenia away on Tuesday.
Magnus Kirt, fairly unknown to the average sports fan, threw a javelin 86.65 meters on Sunday, he now has the second best result by any Estonian ever. The record is held by Andrus Värnik, a World Champion in 2005, whose personal best is 87.83 meters.
Kirt, who turned 25 this year, also qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games with the throw.
For those who prefer water sports, the Estonian men's quadruple sculls team took bronze at the world rowing championship final in France, behind Germany and Australia. The Estonian team consisted of Andrei Jämsa, Allar Raja, Kaspar Taimsoo and Tõnu Endrekson.
(Photo: Fred Killing/Estonian Rowing Association)