The Latvian extreme sports community has been rocked by the death of one of its own, Arturs Grikis. The 17-year-old BMX rider suffered internal injuries on June 30 when he fell from his bike whilst competing at the Ghetto Games festival in Ventspils, Latvia. Falling heavily on his abdomen whilst attempting a 360-degree spin, Grikis’ initial injuries did not appear life-threatening as the athlete stood up and walked to the ambulance. However, event organizers became aware early the next morning that Grikis passed away overnight in the hospital as a result of internal injuries. Grikis had been considered one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in Latvia in the sport of BMX freestyle, with foreign parties taking an interest in the young rider. A group commemorating Grikis that has been set up on the popular Latvian social networking site draugiem.lv (friends.lv) had attracted nearly 6,000 members at the time of print. The Ghetto Games Festival is the biggest event on the Latvian extreme sports calendar, attracting top talent from around Europe to compete in events such as BMX freestyle, skateboarding and wakeboarding.
After making the semi-finals of the girls draw at this year’s French Open in Paris, up-and-coming Estonian tennis player Anett Kontaveit has been unable to go one step further at Wimbledon, once more falling in the semis. Seeded 11th going into the championship, the 16-year-old right-hander dropped just two sets on her way to the final four, which included an impressive 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 win over 7th seeded American Sachia Vickery in the round of 16. However, the world no. 426 finally met her match in Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, with the tournament’s 5th seed winning through to the final with a straight sets 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 victory. Bouchard then went on to win the final over Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-2, 6-2. In the doubles draw, Kontaveit and her Dutch partner, Indy De Vroome, were ousted in the quarter-finals by the second seeded pairing of Russia’s Daria Gavrilova and Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, 4-6, 6-2, 8-10.
Host Estonia has been unable to prosper from home field advantage, losing all three group matches at the European U19 football championships which began in the northernmost Baltic state on July 3 and continues through until July 15. Pitted in group A of the eight-team tournament alongside Spain, Greece and Portugal, the junior Blueshirts managed to score just one goal in their three outings, in a 4-1 loss to Greece on July 6. In their opening game against Portugal three days earlier, the Arno Pijpers-coached team fell 3-0. With nothing but pride on the line in their final group game against Spain on July 9, Estonia produced their best defensive effort, by only allowing the Spanish to score twice. Greece and Spain now advance from Group A, whilst England and France are the two advancing teams from Group B. The semi-finals take place in Lillekula Stadium, Tallinn, on July 12 with the final set to take place three days later at the same venue.
Playing host to a tournament has also done no favors for the Lithuanian U17 basketball team. The U17 World Championships came to a close in Kaunas on July 8, but the local hopefuls were resigned to watching from the bleachers after failing to advance from the group stage into the quarter-finals, after winning just one of their four group games. The United States ran through the tournament undefeated, beating Australia 95-62 in the gold medal game. Croatia claimed bronze, defeating Spain 91-63 in the third and fourth place play-off game.