INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT 2001
By: Bob Willingham
at the Western extreme of the Russian Continent , Estonia is ideally
positioned as a meeting point for the East and West. With a long
established maritime tradition, Tallinn is easily reached from the
Scandinavian countries by boat. To get there from countries such
as Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus takes a 'steady' drive by car!
If your choice however is air travel, through Helsinki, you will
experience what must be one of the world's shortest scheduled air
routes. The plane will take off, climb and and then immediately
start to descend before landing. There is barely enough time for
the stewardess to handout a chocolate.
The town of Tallinn, is of a Hansa style, similar to towns in Germany
and Poland. Centred around a very large market square. the castle
walls have been restored in some areas and provide a perfect frame
to a beautiful picture. The very genuine nature of the people in
Estonia and their desire to achieve the maximum from their resources,
creates a very strong sense of community .
The venue for the judo tournament was an indoor athletics stadium.
By careful positioning of the advertising and spectators a real
atmosphere was created for the television cameras. There was a lot
of interest shown here by the media, who had come to see their Olympic
Bronze medallists, Indrek Pertleson and Aleksei Budolin in action.
(Estonia had three Olympic medalists in Sydney, the other one was
Erki Nool who took Gold in the Triatholon.) A delightfully unusual
acknowledgement of their achievements was to have an ice-cream flavour
produced in their name. Each one of the trio was given 100 kilos
in their flavour. Indrek donated 60 kilos of his to a local children's
home, gave 20 kilos to friends, and still has a fridge load!
the first of the two days of competition Pertelson provided the
live commentary for the television: on the second was he was fighting,
so the national coach and one of the local coaches provided the
In such a small country the number of people available to help run
such a competition is limited. However one ingenious way they used
to ensure the maximum number of qualified referees at work on the
mat, was to allow the children to run the control tables. Their
anticipation and enthusiasm was a delight to see, trying to be the
first one to turn the numbers on the scoreboard, or checking their
stopwatches with one another for synchronisation. I wasn't aware
of a single error made throughout the weekend!
The whole competition was compered throughout the day to ensure
the spectators knew who was competing. The compere was one member
of a band called the 'golden trio' who entertained the spectators
just before the finals began; during the Soviet occupation of Estonia
the trio had been banned from performing because of their satirical
lyrics, but now the energy of their playing was as if they hadn't
played since then! They were a big hit with the audience, some of
whom were on their feet dancing to the music.
During the opening ceremony a couple of local female politicians
were introduced to the crowds in the stadium and were presented
with judo suits, which they dutifully put on, and then laughed at
the idea of fighting each other.
In the true style of showmanship both Budolin and Pertelson won
their categories, but just to make it even more exciting Padar,
a fellow countryman, who normally fights in the - 100 kilo category
gave Indrek a hard time before finally being thrown for Ippon. A
superb climax to a highly successful weekend.
If you are interested in competing in next year's tournament contact
the Estonian Judo Federation at: email@example.com