Realistic opportunity for home athletes in Tallinn
Date: 1/12/2016 3:28 PM
Published by : Mark Phelan
It is time to dust off the cobwebs as the circuit resumes after the Christmas break with a trip to the 2016 edition of the Yonex Estonian international which gets under way in Tallinn this coming Thursday. The Estonian international represents a golden opportunity for the top home grown players to climb the podium in at least three of the five disciplines after a bumper 2015 from some established and emerging home grown talent.

 Raul Must (pictured left) had a fantastic 2015  with results that have elevated him to number  43 in the world, while Kati Tolmoff continues  to chase Olympic qualification in the women’s  singles and Estonian European junior bronze  medallists Kuuba & Ruutel look to build on a  2015 that saw them create a little piece of  Estonian badminton history in Poland. 

 Must goes into his home international on the  back of a much needed rest and will be hot  favourite to lift the title with one foot in the  door of Olympic qualification. The world  number 43 will face England’s Rhys Walker in  the opening round while the Estonian’s first big  test should come at quarter final stage where  the winner of the Eetu Heino and the returning  Niluka Karunaratne should be waiting. 

Finland’s Anton Kaisti is the defending champion but the likely Finnish threat will come from Ville Lang and Kalle Koljonen with the latter on the same side of the draw as the Estonian top seed. 

Kati Tolmoff is seeded three for her home event and still has a lot of work to do to qualify for Rio in the summer. On the Estonian’s side of the draw are second seed Lianne Tan (BEL) and Akvile Stapusaityte (LTU) while in the top half both Getter Saar (EST) and Sashina Vignes Waran (FRA) are starting to find their form again after long layoffs due to injury and top seed Maria Ulitina (UKR) should have the capabilities to beat all on her day. Finland will also have a say in the destination of the medals as Nanna Vainio continues her battle for Olympic qualification. 

A new year and new goals for young doubles pair

2015 turned out to be a good year for Estonian badminton. While the senior players performed well on the circuit the European junior bronze medal obtained by Kristin Kuuba and Helina Ruutel (main pictured) was a ground breaking achievement for Estonia.

The pair come into this year’s Estonian International as second seeds and will have their eyes set on a podium. Almost a year on from their junior success Ruutel & Kuuba will have new goals for 2016 and gaining some consistency on the circuit is sure to be a priority. 

Russian pair Morozova and Chervyakova are top seeds but it is the on form Swedish pair Wengberg and Nistad that will be slight favourites for their third win as a pair. 

Bastian Kersaudy and Lea Palermo (pictured right) will lead the charge in the mixed doubles with Russian pair Zinchenko and Morozova representing an unseeded chance for success in the bottom half of the draw. 

Russia again have likely medal opportunities in the men’s doubles with Khakimov and Kuznetsov finding themselves in the easier half of the draw. Scotland will be looking to Patrick MacHugh and Martin Campbell to get their new year off to a good start. The Scots are always good for at least one win at international series level in any given calendar year. Belgian second seeds Dierickx and Golinski will stands in MacHugh and Campbell’s way in the bottom half of the draw.

The 2016 Estonian International will also be the first circuit tournament with the new prize money structure as circuit events build towards increased prize money by 2018. Badminton Europe will be in Tallinn covering the event via our YouTube channel (internet dependant) with a continued trial of the one camera, all courts coverage. You can tune in from Thursday via our YouTube channel HERE and choose the court you wish to watch and all in the one YouTube window. 

To view all the draws from the 2016 Yonex Estonian International click HERE

To watch our all court YouTube stream click HERE

Article and Image by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. 

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