The Estonian national quadruple sculling rowing team (Jüri-Mikk Udam, Allar Raja, Tõnu Endrekson and Kaspar Taimsoo) received bronze in the A final of the European Rowing Championships in Italy on Sunday.
The Estonian team, rowing in lane five in the video attached above (race starts at 1:30), held fifth place at the halfway point of the 2,000 m race but charged by Poland and Great Britain to finish third.
This marks the first time the Estonian national rowing team has reached the podium since September 2017 when they also finished third in a world championship event in Sarasota.
The final was taken by Italy (5:41.09), who did just enough to edge out the Netherlands (5:42.56). The Estonian quadruple finished in with a time of 5:45.44, less than a second ahead of fourth-place Poland.
Kaspar Taimsoo said the race went as planned. "We saw that the gap between us and the boats ahead was getting larger but as we agreed - we would increase momentum 700 m before the finish and will row in an ascending line until the end. That if we were behind, we would try to catch up," Taimsoo said.
The Estonian said he is optimistic because the deficits have gotten shorter with each competition. "This means we are on the right track and are doing it the right way. I would like to believe that we could do even better, of course," Taimsoo added.
The Olympic qualifications are in five weeks. Italy and the Netherlands already hold tickets to the games in late July. The Estonian boat was fastest among the remaining hopefuls on Sunday. "Our main focus in the early summer is certainly the Olympic qualification regatta. The most important thing to take from these European championships is that we were the fastest boat of those without Olympic tickets," the rower said.
"It gives our team and everyone involved a lot of confidence and a hopeful view of the future. I think the medal shows that we are back in the game. There will certainly be tough times in spots, but as many of our guys are on their final season, we must take all we can and at this point, we can say we are on the right path," Taimsoo said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste