One of the most popular team sports in Estonia is basketball, both from a participant’s and spectator’s perspective. Estonian women basketball stars Pirgit Püü and Kati Rausberg claimed in a recent interview published in SL/Õhtuleht (Naiste korvpall on ilus. Ilusam kui meestel) that their version of the team game is much more refined and beautiful than the mens game, and it has little to do with personal appearance. It is just the way they play the game – on a more refined or pure (puhtam) level.
Püü and Rausberg star for the Audentes elite level team. The Audentes Group (see www.audentes.ee) provides University level education, a Business school, a private high school focusing on athletics and an Athletics Club. Audentes SK has fielded top teams for years. Audentes places extra emphasis on developing youth teams and the results speak for themselves. This past competitive year of 2006/2007 saw their elite women’s team win the Estonian championship under the guidance of coach Jaanus Levkoi. Coach Reet Rausberg — Kati’s mother — led the Audentes’ youngsters team to first place in the girls Minibasketball (ages 10-12) series, and Levkoi coached the A-level youth girls (under 18) to a national title.
Estonian basketball fans in Toronto and environs will be able to see the A-level team (pictured above) compete along with young women from the Rapla Basketball School’s youth team in December, at the North Toronto Basketball Association (NTBA) mini-tournament. Organizers are asking for the assistance of local fans in providing the Rapla team with accommodation during their visit. (See Eesti Elu #38, September 21, for more on the Rapla team in Estonian)
Not only will the two Estonian teams compete at the tournament but organizers will also ensure that they will see the local professional NBA team Toronto Raptors in action. Sightseeing excursions locally and to Niagara Falls are also being planned.
When the Audentes team manager Rando Reining e-mailed Toronto organizers to send the above photo of the team he noted that the team is more than just a basketball squad. Reining wrote: “it's more about friendship, trust, team spirit and being as one on the court. We have an excellent coach, who has clearly [taught] us what discipline and listening means, which we consider to be the key to our success. We all know our roles on the team and in order to win we always try to give our very best. But the most important thing, whatever happens on the court, we leave as a team, as friends — maybe sad about the game, but glad about he experience we. And this ability to learn from our mistakes and [the] will to be better next time has led us to be the gold medal winners [at the] youth Estonian championships ten times.”
For further information on the tournament and to offer a helping hand for the Rapla team please contact Ülle Veltmann at the Toronto Estonian House café, phone number 416-466-8906 or 416-565-4876.
Young Audentes women basketballers to compete in Toronto hoops tournament