|Kristi Tamp, Kadri-Ann Lass, Trine Kasemägi, Jane Svilberg: silver medal winners at the FIBA 3X3 U18 World Championship|
Following on from the success of the Estonian men's senior team in qualifying for EuroBasket 2015, four Estonian girls have now provided a further boost of optimism for basketball in the Baltic nation.
Competing over the weekend at the FIBA 3X3 U18 World Championship in Indonesia, Jane Svilberg, Kadri-Ann Lass, Kristi Tamp and Trine Kasemagi placed their small nation on the international basketball map by going all the way to the final before finally succumbing to USA, 21-12.
The four girls, who all represented Estonia earlier this summer at the U18 European Championship Women Division B, defeated a number of more fancied opponents on the road to the final, including an Italian team in the semi-finals which featured Elisa Penna and Elisa Ercoli, two members of this year's U20 European Championship silver medalists.
Italy went on to finish fourth after falling to Spain 14-7 in the bronze medal game.
"As a country we do not too often get medals from world championships [in any sport] so I think this is a very big thing here," Estonian Basketball Secretary General Keio Kuhi told fibaeurope.com, adding, "3x3 is a great chance for countries like Estonia to be known in the world.
"We have believed in this age group since U16 and the four girls are really talented but for sure it was [still] a surprise.
"This medal is a bonus and something amazing."
Following on from both the success of the girls in Indonesia and the national men's team in the summer, Kuhi is confident that a major spin-off will be more children becoming involved in basketball in Estonia.
"Because of the success of the men's national team and now also this silver medal, for sure many kids will now decide to be basketball players. For Estonia basketball is already a very big thing but after a success like this it is even better."
Europe was also strongly represented on the podium on the men's side of the draw with France making it as far as the gold medal game before losing to Argentina 13-7.
Russia claimed bronze by defeating Lithuania 19-16.
The Lithuanians had earlier caused the biggest upset of the tournament by defeating a highly touted American outfit 15-12 in their Last 16 knock-out clash.