Merle Kaljurand, head of the Estonian delegation, said that participation in the Olympic Festival is a good opportunity for Estonian youth athletes to experience competition on the international arena. “It is at the Youth Olympic Festival where a number of Olympic athletes and medal winners made their first athletic career steps. Competing there provides strong motivation and becomes a launching pad for high-achievement sport for young athletes,” Kaljurand noted.
The Estonian team at the European Youth Olympic Festival comprises the following:
· Cycling: Elisabeth Ebras, Elina Tasane, Laura Lizette Sander, Madis Mihkels, Frank Aron Ragilo, Lauri Tamm
· Judo: Darja Mihhailova, Marcus Saksladu, Viljar Lipard, Randel Päästel, Givi Kokhtashvili, Karl Tani Priilinn-Türk
· Athletics: Marit Kutman, Ann Marii Kivikas, Jekaterina Mirotvortseva, Triine-Marie Land, Sofia Marlene Haug, Maria Dudareva, Gertu Küttmann, Katre Marit Liiv, Kelly Heinpõld, Pippi Lotta Enok, Kristjan Markus Eelmaa, Kristian Otlot, Karl-Hendrik Palu, Tony Ats Tamm, Rasmus Roosleht, Steven Sepp
· Wrestling: Heily Tiitus, Maarja Plaser, Kristo Merilain, Raimond Uibo, Kirill Skiller, Hanno Käärik
· Swimming: Laura-Liis Valdmaa, Brita Rannamets, Demid Solodov, Erik Lihhats, Alan Gritsõk, Christopher Palvadre
· Tennis: Liisa Varul, Elisabeth Iila, Andreas Sillaste, Erko Nigula
The athletes are accompanied by 25 members of the support personnel; garments for the team have been provided by Nike and Monton. Hergo Andruse will also be a wrestling judge at the Olympic Festival.
The European Youth Olympic Festival aims to promote sport and physical activity, inspire young people to take up sport and foster the spirit of fair play and tolerance. The competition programme of the summer European Youth Olympic Festival 2019 contains ten sports, and 298 sets of medals will be awarded. Athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 can compete at the European Youth Olympic Festival, which is held every other year. This year, nearly 3600 athletes and trainers from 50 countries are expected to take part in the festival.
The Estonian team has seen success at the summer editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival before. In total, the Estonian team has already brought 10 gold medals, 9 silver medals and 9 bronze medals from fourteen summer European Youth Olympic Festivals; among others, he winners include Aleksei Budõlin (1993, gold), Martin Padar (1995, gold), Margus Hunt (2003, gold), Kaire Leibak (2005, two gold medals), Grigori Minaškin (2007, gold), Liina Laasma (2009, gold), Kregor Zirk (2015, gold), Tanel Kangert (2003, bronze), Rasmus Mägi (2009, bronze). At the 2017 Olympic Festival held in Györ, Hungary, Ken Mark Minkovski won a silver medal in long jump, and Gleb Karpenko won a bronze medal in individual time trial cycling while Carol Plakk and Katriin Saar won a bronze medal in women’s doubles tennis.