Estonians love sports and take pride in their athletes’ accomplishments on the international scene. Cross-country skiing is the most popular winter sport. The most popular ball games are basketball and football (soccer). Many people enjoy canoeing, hiking, sailing, motor sports, and cycling in their leisure time, and rollerblading has gained a following in recent years.
Individual Sport Participation
Estonians see personal fitness as important and take up activities such as horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and boating during their leisure time. They also go to health clubs with fitness facilities to keep themselves fit and healthy. Swimming, jogging, running, and aerobics are some of the most common fitness activities.
Popular sports include swimming, horseback riding, canoeing, cycling, tennis, badminton, football, Frisbee, volleyball, and basketball. Of these, basketball is the most often played. Both men and women like to go to public health clubs that have body-building facilities. Aerobics is popular among women, and judo is becoming a favorite with men. In winter, skiing and cross-country skiing are popular.
Private Sports Clubs
Many people frequent private clubs, although public sports halls and recreation centers are available.
Private Sports Clubs Listings:
AS EGCC (Estonian Golf & Country Club)
Manniva küla, Jõelähtme 74202
The Estonian Golf & Country Club is a source of national pride. Set near the Baltic Sea and the Jägala river delta, the golf course goes by ancient archeological sites. It belongs to the network of PGA European Tour Courses and offers an 18-hole and a 9-hole course..
Kääriku Leisure and Sports Center
Otepää Rral Municipality
The popular Kääriku Leisure and Sports Center was set up in 1947 by the University of Tartu as a study and training center for the Faculty of Exercise and Sports Sciences. It includes facilities such as a sports hall, track and field stadium, skiing stadium, sauna, hiking trails, roller skating and cycling tracks, courts for ball games, and an open-air swimming pool. It offers opportunities for conducting seminars and training and sports camps. It is an ideal place for students and professional athletes from surrounding countries to undergo training. Holiday homes, hotels, conference and catering centers are some of the other facilities offered.
Arctic Sport Club
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The Arctic Sports Club has modern sporting and fitness equipment that caters to the needs and demands of high-rank players. Many activities are available for children and teenagers. One attraction is the bowling club, which is used for children’s parties as well as professional tournaments. Special facilities are provided for disabled people wanting to partake in sporting and fitness activities. The gym is divided into two sections: one with exercise equipment, free weights, barbells and dumbbells, and the other with "cardio theaters," that allow people to watch TV while they exercise.
Jeti Ice Arena
Everyone from kids to professional ice skating athletes can enjoy skating at the Jeti Ice Arena. Classes on physical education are conducted here to spread awareness about fitness and health. This is the only club in Tallinn that provides facilities for the Olympic sport of curling.
The Tulbi Spordiklubi offers plenty of facilities for exercising and body building. It has up-to-date and safe fitness and sports equipment and employs training coaches who help members to achieve their desired goals in fitness and sports. It is located in the center of Tallinn and has a guarded parking lot for members.
Saue Moisatall is a riding club set up in 1996. Horse riding services are located in an outbuilding of the manor, which is several hundred years old. This club organizes the Saue Manor Riding Championships every year.
Männiku Shooting Gallery
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Männiku, Saku vald
The Männiku Shooting Gallery is the biggest shooting gallery in Estonia. It offers a variety of shooting tracks and is host to several competitions. Members can learn shooting under the guidance of an experienced instructor and take part in the competitions.
Physical education is part of the educational curriculum in Estonia.Most schools offer physical education and have their own gymnasium and play areas. Tallinn University offers a four-year program in physical education for physical education teachers and recreation managers. Tallinn university also offers students training in aerobics, gym, basketball, and volleyball
The Tallinn College of Engineering (TCE) is the founding member of the Academic Sports Federation (EASF) and has its own Center of Sports. The aim of the EASF is to enhance the sports movement in Estonia. The Mustamäe campus includes a sport hall and stadium that includes a full-scale soccer ground and race courses.
Students have founded college sport clubs in basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, badminton, and the like. Some well-known collegiate sport clubs are Tallinna SK Reval-Sport/TUT, TUT SK hall-hockey team, TUT's basketball team and, TUT/Viljandi Volleyball Club.
Professional sport receives a lot of importance in Estonia. Many Estonians excel in sports such as basketball, hockey, and football (soccer). Many foreign football teams have Estonian members, and football evokes a strong feeling of nationhood, as was witnessed when the Estonian team beat the Russians in 2002.
The most popular spectator sport in Estonia is basketball. Estonia has a highly competitive set of teams that play not only at the national level but also at the international level. Other popular spectator sports are ice hockey and soccer.
Estonians enjoy cross-country skiing, and the famous athletes in this sport are Andrus Veerpalu and Kristiina Shmigun. Allar Levandi is another skiing legend who was declared the Estonian sportsman of 1988 for winning a bronze medal at the Calgary Olympic Games. Jaak Mae took the second place at the 2003 World Nordic Ski Championships in the 15 km classic style event and won a bronze in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. During the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, Estonians came out as the major winners.
Other Notable Athletes:
Jaan Kirsipuu (cycling)
Erika Salumäe (cycling)
Erki Nool (gold medal decathlete at Sydney Olympics)
Voldemar Väli (wrestling).
August "Ago" Neo (wrestling)
Georg Lurich (wrestling)
Kristjan Palusalu (wrestling)
Arnold Luhaäär (weightlifting)
Indrek Pertelson (judo)
Martin Reim (soccer)
Mart Poom (soccer)
Jüri Jaanson (rowing)
Jüri Lossmann (long distance runner)
Ivar Stukolkin (swimming)
Tõnu Õim (chess)
Paul Keres (chess)
Popular and Dominant Teams-Soccer
The most popular and dominant sports teams are FC Levadia Tallinn, Flora Tallinn FC and FC Flora.
FC Levadia Tallinn was established in 1999 under the name FC Levadia Maardu. They have successfully won the Estonian championship Meistriliiga in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2007. Locally the Flora Tallinn FC is a force to reckon with. FC Flora was established in 1990 and they have emerged as multiple winners of both the Meistriliiga title and the Estonian Cup. Another important sports team is the FC TV MK which is a based in Tallinn. They won the Meistriliiga title and the Estonian Cup in 2005 and the Estonian Super Cup in 2003 and 2006.
Out of these the main sports team is the FC TVMK, whose main rival is FC Levadia. The other rival is FC Flora. FC Flora's main rivals are FC Levadia and FC TVMK. All three are from the Estonian capital city of Tallinn.
FC TVMK is an Estonian football club, based in the capital city Tallinn. They share their home ground with one of their biggest rivals FC Levadia, both of whom play at the Kadrioru Stadium. Their other rival is FC Flora.
Women are also keen to participate in professional sports. Skating is mostly preferred by women, especially ice skating and synchronized skating. The country also has a women’s national soccer team controlled by the Estonian Football Association.
Major Spectator Sporting Events
Meistriliiga (Major League) Soccer
Date: March to November
Location: Venues throughout Estonia
Description: Meistriliiga season begins in March and ends in November. Ten clubs compete for the soccer championship, each team playing the other teams four times each. Six of the teams are professional and the rest are non-professional. In each season, the team that scores the lowest is removed. The team that wins the Meistriliiga championship goes to the first qualifying round of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League. The team which comes second gets to play the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
Estonian Cup (Soccer)
Date: Ends in May
Location: Venues throughout Estonia
Description: The Estonian Cup is a significant football (soccer) cup competition in which all the football cup clubs participate. This is a knockout or single elimination tournament. The team which wins this cup gets to play in the 1st Qualifying Round of the UEFA Cup along with the runner-up of the Meistriliiga.
Date: April to November
Location: All over Estonia
Description: This second-level league of ten teams is organized by the Estonian Football Association. Play begins in April and lasts until the end of November. All the teams play four times, and the team that wins is promoted to Meistriliiga. The team that finishes second is chosen for playoff against the ninth team of the Meistriliiga.
Ice Cricket World Championship
Date: February and March every year
Description: The Ice Cricket World Championships take place every year in the capital city of Tallinn, where the game is played on the surface of a frozen lake.
Baltic Grand Prix- BUDO CUP (Karate)
Location: Tallinn sports hall
Description: Grand Prix- BUDO CUP is an international karate competition sponsored by the Budo sport club. It takes place in the capital city’s sports hall, and participants come from countries such as Belarus, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia.
Tartu Ski Marathon
Description: Tartu Ski Marathon is part of the Worldloppet series. The event was first organized in 1960, and since then its popularity has been increasing. Now, thousands of skiers from all over the world come to join in this event every year. In addition to the main 63 km race, this program also includes a 31 km short race. Other events in this program are the Open Track and Women's races, held a week before the marathon, and TILLU and MINI races for children held on the eve of the marathon. A 16 kilometer women’s race is also a part of the Open Track event.
The Elion Estonian Cup (Cycling)
Date: May to September
Location: All over Estonia
Description: This is a bicycle marathon race conducted by the Pro Cyclists Club and local sports clubs according to ECU (Estonian Cyclists Union) and UCI (International Cycling Union) regulations. There are three races in this event: the main race, the hiking race and the children’s race. The main race covers 50 kilometers. The hiking track is around 30 kilometers. There are men’s and women’s categories in the main and hiking races.
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