Sport in Estonia

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Sport plays an important role in Estonian culture. Estonia first competed as a nation at the 1920 Summer Olympics, although the National Olympic Committee was established in 1923. Estonian athletes took part at every Olympic Games until the country was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. The 1980 Summer Olympics sailing regatta was held in the capital city Tallinn. Estonia has won most of its Olympic medals in wrestling, athletics, weightlifting, and cross-country skiing.[1]


Basketball is a notable sport in Estonia, and has often been called the "national sport of Estonia".[2] The domestic top-tier basketball championship is called the Korvpalli Meistriliiga. BC Kalev/Cramo are the most recent champions, having won the league in the 2017–18 season. University of Tartu team has won the league a record 26 times. Estonian clubs also participate in European and regional competitions. Estonia national basketball team previously participated in 1936 Summer Olympics, appeared in EuroBasket four times. They have twice finished FIBA EuroBasket on 5th place. Estonian national team also competed at the EuroBasket 2015.

Beach volleyball[edit]

Estonia featured national teams in beach volleyball that competed at the 2018–2020 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in both the women's and the men's sections.[3]


The Estonia Cricket Association (ECA) was formed in 2007 and became members of the International Cricket Council in 2008.[4] The ECA runs Men's and Women's leagues, playing 40-40, T20 and Super 8's competitions. It has member clubs in Tallinn and Tartu. Estonia is also home to a unique variant of the game in Ice Cricket. The Ice Cricket World Championship was held annually in the Estonian city of Tallinn played upon the surface of a frozen lake.


Disc Golf[edit]

2022 Women's Professional Disc Golf Champion, Kristin Tattar still resides in her hometown of Parnu.


Épée Fencing has been very successful for Estonia in the past few decades. Oksana Jermakova became the first fencing World Champion for Estonia winning Individual Épée in 1993. Irina Embrich has won some medals in the past years. Nikolai Novosjolov became the world champion in 2010 and 2013. At 2013 Championships Julia Beljajeva also won the gold medal. Both team épée, women's and men's, have won championship medals.

Estonia has won 17 World Fencing Championships medals and several European Fencing Championships medals.


Floorball is gaining popularity in Estonia, because of some recent success of the men's national team. The Estonia national floorball team finished the 2008 World Championships in 8th place, reached Quarterfinals in 2010, finished the 2012 World Championships in 9th place and 2014 World Championships in 8th place.


Football is one of the most popular sports in Estonia, although no minor honour has been achieved. Estonia advanced to the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying play-offs against the Republic of Ireland.

Formula racing[edit]

Freestyle skiing[edit]

Kelly Sildaru won women's slopestyle at 2015 Dew tour. At just 13 years old, Kelly Sildaru might be the smallest competitor in the field, but she brought the biggest run of the contest, spinning all four directions and showcasing technicality on the rails in the process. On the jumps, Kelly landed a switch right 900, right corked 720, switch left 900 and left 720, and the judges rewarded her with a 90.80 to put her into 1st place.

Kelly won Gold in the slopestyle event in the 2016 Winter X Games beating Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen. With this win, at age 13, Kelly became the youngest gold medalist to date at an X Games winter event.

Ice hockey[edit]

Ice hockey in Estonia is governed by the Estonian Ice Hockey Association[5] (Eesti Jäähokiliit).[6]

The top-tier league of men's ice hockey in Estonia is the Meistriliiga (also known as Coolbet Hokiliiga for sponsorship reasons)

The top-tier league of women's ice hockey in Estonia is the Naiste Hokiliiga.

The Estonia men's national ice hockey team is currently[when?] ranked 27th in the world.[citation needed]


Judo is one of the most successful field of sport for Estonia. Since 1996, Estonia has won several medals in major international competitions.



Markko Märtin has claimed 5 victories and 101 stage wins in his WRC career.
  • Markko Märtin was the first Estonian who won a number of rallies in the World Rally Championship. Markko has scored 5 WRC victories, total of 18 podium finishes, 207 points and 101 stage wins. In 2004, he finished the season with 3rd place. Markko was one of the best rally drivers, but retired after an accident in 2005. Rally fans from Estonia continued to be interested in WRC, visiting Rally Finland and other rallies.
  • Ott Tänak is 2019 WRC Champion, and Martin Järveoja won the FIA World Rally Championship for Co-Drivers that season. Previously Tänak had repeated Märtin's achievement by finishing 3rd overall in 2017, winning his fifth rally in August 2018 and eventually surpassing Märtin by winning his sixth rally in September 2018. Tänak also finished 3rd overall in 2018, winning three rallies in a row and mathematically still being in the title race at the last rally of the season. He was the highest pointscorer for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT that season, who won the Manufacturer's Championship that season.
  • Rally Estonia was added to the World Rally Championship calendar from 2020.


Rowing is a popular sport in Estonia. One reason is Jüri Jaanson, but there are also other well-known rowers in Estonia. Between 2004 and 2009, Estonia scored at least one medal in major international competition in every year: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. After six years Estonia won bronze medal in 2015.

Tõnu Endrekson, Andrei Jämsä, Allar Raja and Kaspar Taimsoo have also won an Olympic medal.


Twin brothers Tõnu Tõniste and Toomas Tõniste competed in four consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1988. They won a silver and a bronze medal in the Men's 470 Class, for the Soviet Union (silver, 1988) and for Estonia (bronze, 1992).


Skiing is very popular in Estonia. Otepää is a popular skiing resort. Otepää is also known as the "winter capital" of Estonia (in contrast to the "summer capital" Pärnu). It is also the annual Cross-country skiing World Cup event. The 2011 Nordic Junior World Ski Championships was held in Otepää also.

In 2000, Raul Olle won Vasaloppet, which is amongst the oldest, longest, and biggest cross-country ski races in the world.

In 1999 Estonian skiing found success at international level, winning medals at World Championships. Estonia has won 4 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze medal at the Winter Olympic Games.

Andrus Veerpalu, Kristina Šmigun-Vähi and Jaak Mae are some of the most popular athletes in Estonia.

Speed skating[edit]



  • Kaia Kanepi is an Estonian professional female tennis player. Her career-high ranking was set at World No. 16 on 7 February 2011.[7] Kanepi won her first WTA Tour Title in Palermo in 2010, becoming the first Estonian female player to win a WTA title. She has also reached six Grand Slam Quarter-finals, becoming the first Estonian to achieve this and was the first Estonian to be ranked in the top twenty.
  • Jürgen Zopp made a breakthrough on the ATP tour in 2012, qualifying for the main draws of each the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon, and achieving his first main draw ATP tournament win in Bucharest, establishing himself as a top-100 player in the world rankings.
  • Anett Kontaveit has won six singles titles on the WTA tour as well as eleven singles and five doubles titles on the ITF tour during her career. In June 2022, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 2, becoming the first Estonian singles player to reach the top 10 and highest-ranked of all time.

Track and field[edit]

Track and field is gaining popularity in Estonia, shown by some of the recent success in this field of sport. Jüri Lossmann came in second on the marathon at the 1920 Olympic Games. Aleksander Klumberg won the bronze medal in 1924 in the men's decathlon competition. Between 2000 and 2009, Estonia scored at least one medal in major international competition in every year: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Before that, Erki Nool won the gold medal in 1998.



Weightlifting was one of the most successful field of sport for Estonia in the past. Alfred Neuland competed in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics and won a gold and a silver medal, respectively, becoming the first Olympic gold medalist from Estonia. Alfred Schmidt was a featherweight weightlifter who won a silver medal at the 1920 Summer Olympics. Arnold Luhaäär competed in the 1928 and 1936 Olympics and won a silver and a bronze medal, respectively. Jaan Talts won a silver medal in weightlifting for the Soviet Union at the 1968 Olympic games and a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic games.


Wrestling was the most successful and also very popular Olympic event for Estonia between 1920 and 1936. In 2006, Heiki Nabi became the first amateur wrestling World Champion for Estonia. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Nabi won the silver medal in the Men's Greco-Roman 120 kg. Nabi continued his great career winning second gold medal at 2013 World Championships and bronze medal at 2014 World Championships.

Other sports[edit]


Gallery of famous Estonian sportspeople

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Xinhua News Agency – Ethiopian makes Winter Olympic history, Russian Pyleva banned – By sportswriter Xie Peilin – 18 February 2006 – [1]
  2. ^ Lonely Planet Eastern Europe (9 ed.). Lonely Planet. 2007. p. 319. ISBN 9781741044768.
  3. ^ "Continental Cup Finals start in Africa". FIVB. 22 June 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  4. ^ "International Cricket Council". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Ice Hockey in Estonia". National Teams of Ice Hockey. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Eesti Jäähokiliit". Eesti Jäähokiliit (in Estonian). Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Female Tennis Players | WTA Tennis".

External links[edit]