Lithuanian Austra Skuyte has taken the Baltic’s only medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Paris, claiming silver in the women’s heptathlon. After claiming silver in the same event at the 2004 Olympics, Skuyte more recently gave up participating in the heptathlon to focus mainly on shot put. But the return to heptathlon appears to be paying dividends with her second place over the weekend in the slightly adapted indoor version of the event. Scoring 4,706 points across the seven events, Skuyte was pipped at the post by local favorite Antoinette Nana Djimou Ida, who finished with 4,723 points. Also claiming notable placings in the same event were Estonians Kaie Kand and Grit Sadeiko, who finished 8 and 9, respectively; Latvian Aiga Grabuste finished in 10th place. Other notable finishes over the weekend were achieved by Lithuanian Egle Balciunaite, who qualified for the final of the women’s 800m before finishing in the 6th and final spot, as well as fellow Lithuanian Povilas Mykolaitis, who finished 5th in the men’s long jump.
Estonia has shocked Lithuania, knocking them out 3-2 in the first round of the Davis Cup, Europe/Africa group II division. As expected, young Lithuanian star Richard Berankis cruised in his opening rubber, defeating Jaak Poldma 7-6 (3) 6-2 6-3. But disaster struck Lithuania in their second rubber when their no. 2 Laurynas Grigelis was forced to retire when leading Jurgen Zopp 5-4. On Saturday Berankis paired up with Dovydas Sakinis in the doubles, but they could not get past Zopp and Mait Kunnap, with the Estonians winning 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to take a 2-1 lead. Berankis faced much more of a fight in his return rubber on Sunday, with Zopp pushing the Lithuanian to five sets in a classic encounter. Berankis finally prevailed, 1-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 11-9. However, his good work would be in vain as Sakinis failed to step up in the absence of the injured Grigelis, falling to Poldma 1-6, 4-6, 6-1, 1-6 in the final rubber of the tie. Playing in the same division, Latvia – even without the services of Ernests Gulbis – had an easy job of disposing Greece, 4-1. Winning both their singles rubbers on the opening day, Latvia wrapped up the tie by winning the doubles on Saturday. Greece finally managed to win a rubber on the final day, albeit with nothing riding on it.
The Estonian men’s 4x10 km Classic/Free relay team has finished in tenth spot at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway. The team, consisting of Jaak Mae, Algo Kaerp, Karel Tammjarv and Aivar Rehemaa finished in a total time of 1:44:59.3, 3:11.1 behind Norway, who narrowly held on to beat Sweden and Germany. The top ten finish was a second for the Baltic nation with Estonian Peeter Kummel finishing 6th in the men’s 12.5 K pursuit during the first week of action.
Latvian Edgars Pikssons has finished eighth in the Men’s 10km sprint at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. In one of the best performances of his career, Pikssons missed just one target, completing the course in a time of 25:16.9, 42.9 seconds slower than winner Arnd Peiffer of Germany. Pikssons is the only competitor from the Baltics to claim a top ten finish in the first week of action. Baltic athletes will continue to compete over a number of distances in the second week of action.