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Gerd Kanter: Tõnu Tõniste understands sports through and through

The Estonian Olympic Committe (EOC) will choose their next president on June 8. In the opposition to the current president of the, EOC Urmas Sõõrumaa, is Tõnu Tõniste, whose candidate for vice president is former Olympic gold medalist in the discus Gerd Kanter. Kanter had a short interview with ERR's sports portal.

In the time that Urmas Sõõrumaa has been president of the EOC, you've been both an athlete and a trainer. You've also dabbled in sports politics. What about Sõõrumaa does not please you now that has made you side with Tõniste?

Primarily the fact that Urmas Sõõrumaa is involved in a wide array of things which leads to his responsibilities in sports not reaching the top of his priorities. Those are mainly dominated by other subjects. Two episodes that have disturbed me most as head of the EOC's Athletes' Committee have been during the doping scandal, when our current president did not express enough zero tolerance, and the same scandal led to all being described as dumb athletes. That was deplorable and saddening.

What would be the advantages of having Tõnu Tõniste as president of the EOC?

I would bring out three things why I have chosen to be on Tõnu's team. First, if he is chosen, he has promised to completely commit to leading sports. Second, he knows sports through and through: Olympic medalist, experience as a parent to an athlete, and his last four years in leadership of the Olympic Committee, where we have taken massive leaps in developing athletics. And third, I would bring out values that Tõnu carries. They are all close to my heart - fair play, democratic and transparent leadership, and ambition. I like lofty goals.

How ready are you to be vice president of the EOC? What would you like to accomplish in that position?

The first field that I see as a strength of mine is international communications. Through the committee I have great contacts in the European and International olympic committees. High-level athletics and Team Estonia are the domains where I think I have the ability to perform, and that I'm passionate about.

Urmas Sõõrumaa has said that he holds about 75 percent of the votes. Have you and Tõnu made preparations to win some of those votes?

We'll see on June 8. I believe there's a broader question: Is the voter pleased with what is happening now, or do they want a more modern and innovative leadership?

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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