Federation Focus: Estonia

22 May 2013

The Estonian Basketball Association (Eesti Korvpalliliit) was initially part of the Estonian Handball Federation, which was founded on 14 December 1923. With the first basketball game having been played on 7 June 1920 between two schools in Tallinn and the interest in the sport growing, the basketball association took over the organisation of basketball in the country and implemented a league structure. The first men's national championship was held in 1925, with the inaugural women's championship taking place in 1927.

On 23 November 1934, Estonia became a FIBA member, with the basketball tournament at the 1936 Olympics marking the international debut of the Estonian men's national team. Estonia wrote history, as the team won the first ever Olympic basketball game on 7 August 1936. In the presence of James Naismith, who administered the initial jump ball, the Estonians defeated France 34-29 behind 11 points by Heino Veskila. However, the Estonians' Olympic journey ended with a 22-39 loss in the eighth-finals.

At the European Championships in 1937 and 1939, Estonia finished in fifth place respectively, their best result up to date. Due to the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union, basketball activities in the territory were run by the Soviet Basketball Federation from 1945-1991. With the break-up of the Soviet Union the Estonian Basketball Federation restored its status as a FIBA member on 20 December 1991.

Estonia celebrating their silver medal and promotion to Division A
Estonia celebrating their silver medal and promotion to Division A at the U20 European Championship Division B in 2011

In the past two decades, the federation has built on the tradition and further increased the popularity of the sport in the Baltic country. The introduction of projects such as 3x3 basketball and mini-basketball has been a logical step in the promotion and development of basketball. The focus on youth basketball last led to the promotion of the men's U20 team in 2011. Having kept their Division A spot in 2012, Estonia will try to top their previous results this summer when they host the U20 European Championship in July.



Date of foundation: 14 December 1923
President: Jüri Ratas
Secretary General: Karel Loide

Registered players:
- U18 Men: 1,476
- U18 Women: 532
- Senior Men: 1,159
- Senior Women: 201
Non-registered players: approximately 3,430



1937 European Champions in Riga (Latvia): 5th place
1939 European Championship in Kaunas (Lithuania): 5th place
2005 U16 European Championship Women Division B: 2nd place
2006 U18 European Championship Division B: 2nd place
2011 U20 European Championship Division B: 2nd place

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