The Estonian Basketball Association (EKL) has submitted an application to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for the right to host a pre-qualification tournament for the 2024 Olympic Games in Tallinn
The submission of the application is significant for several reasons. Not only would it be the biggest basketball competition ever held in Estonia but the opportunity to participate and apply has only arisen due to the considerable rise in the Estonian men's national basketball team in the world rankings.
A place in the qualifiers for the 2026 Olympics was secured after the Estonian team made it to the second round of qualifying for the World Championships and qualified for last summer's European Championship (EuroBasket) finals. The Estonian men's basketball team is now ranked 44th out of 161 teams in the world and 22nd from 47 in Europe.
This would be a major tournament, where the Estonian team is able to play at full strength, hopefully in front of a home crowd. This differs from international games played during the regular club season, when some of Estonia's leading players are unavailable to play due to commitments for their clubs in the EuroLeague clubs or the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).
The application will also be welcomed by Estonian basketball fans, who until now have only been able to see the national team in full action elsewhere in Europe. 9,000 Estonians attended the European Championship finals in Riga in 2015 and 2,500 made it to Milan for last year's EuroBasket.
FIBA will announce its decision about where the tournament is to be held on April 28.
The draw for the tournament will also be made once FIBA confirms the full list of participating nations.
If Estonia gets the go ahead, the tournament will take place in Tallinn's Tondiraba Ice Hall on 12-15 August.
Editor: Michael Cole