TALLINN - The Estonian men's quadruple sculls team won a qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, and has thus qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
For the more experienced members of the team, these will be their fourth or fifth games, the Estonian daily Postimees writes.
Tonu Endrekson, 41, made his Olympic debut in Athens in 2004, where finished fourth in the double sculls event together with Leonid Gulov. At the Beijing Games held four years later, he already won a silver medal in the double sculls event with Juri Jaanson. In the last decade, Endrekson has reached the Olympic Games on the quadruple sculls team -- finishing fourth at the 2012 London Olympics and third at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"I have reached the finals four times, I would like to do it for the fifth time! And I am still missing the brightest medal," Endrekson told Postimees. If Endrekson reaches the top three in Tokyo as well, he will become the first Estonian athlete to win a medal at three Olympic Games.
"I can still vividly recall the semi-final and final event of the 2004 Athens games. There was quite a bit of distance between us and a medal at that time, we came fourth with a tremendous final spurt. I remember that after one semi-final, it was not possible to find out who is third, who is fourth and both were allowed in the final, where seven boats were thus at the starting line."
In Sunday's decisive race, Estonia overtook Russia by five hundredths and Lithuania, which finished third, by just over two seconds. "We went to ride our ride. It is very important to work in your own mode and not to be distracted by your competitors. Once you get your work rhythm, it is okay," Endrekson said.
As the two best teams won a ticket to Tokyo, there was essentially no difference between finishing first and second.