According to Merle Kaljurand, the project manager for youth sports in the Estonian Olympic Committee, chief de mission of the Estonian Delegation in the Youth Olympic Games, there are several aspects that make this team special. “For the first time, none of our athletes are going to the Youth Olympic Games by invitation: all the 23 participants have qualified due to their performance. It should be noted that the qualification was tough because of its ‘fine sieve’, so to say, and winning a spot to compete in the Youth Olympic Games is an achievement on its own. Top performers in respective age categories will be meeting in Buenos Aires, and it is an opportunity for our young athletes to compare themselves with the best among their peers from all over the world. It is also a unique opportunity to obtain experience of participating in an international multi-sport competition which is organized in a way similar to adult Olympic Games and has the same scale and atmosphere of grandeur,” Kaljurand said.
Kaljurand was also glad that Estonians will be competing in several sports in Buenos Aires, which the Estonian team had not qualified for in earlier Youth Olympic Games. “Our athletes will be competing in half of the eight sports for the first time: rhythmic gymnastics, karate, wrestling and archery; a boys’ 3x3 basketball team will also be debuting. All of this shows the level of performance of our young athletes,” Kaljurand said.
The Estonian team for the Youth Olympic Games:
- Hendrik Õun
- Eerik Haamer – pole vault
- Annika Emily Kelly – hammer throw
- Ann Marii Kivikas – 200 meters
- Ken-Mark Minkovski – 200 meters
- Marleen Mülla – pole vault
- Gedly Tugi – javelin throw
- Boys - Arthur Herman Entsik, Aleksander Oliver Hint, Kerr Kriisa, Jaan Erik Lepp
- Girls - Martha-Liisa Oinitš, Janne Pulk, Johanna-Eliise Teder, Victoria-Ida Vähi
- Marta Ossipova
- Adelina Beljajeva
- Greta Jaanson
- Alex Ahtiainen
- Aleksa Gold
- Margaret Markvardt
- Ivan Štšeglov
- Viktoria Vesso
In the first Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore, 2010, there were eight Estonian competitors representing five sports. Seventeen Estonian athletes competing in 7 sports went to the last Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in 2014; exactly the same number of young athletes was on the Estonian team with the same number of sports in the previous Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, in 2016 and Innsbruck, Austria, in 2016.
Today’s Estonian Olympic athletes who earlier performed in Youth Olympic Games are Nordic combined skier Kristjan Ilves and biathlete Rene Zahkna, who brought two silver medals from Innsbruck in 2012. Other examples are judoka Mattias Kuusik and badminton player Kristin Kuuba, who have by now entered the NOC's Olympics preparation program.
Please also visit the official site for Team Estonia in Buenos Aires 2018.