The 84th Estonian Table Tennis Championships in Tallinn brought together all the country’s leading players, who displayed some quality results.
Among the favorites of this tournament, traditionally was one of the most accomplished Estonian players – the 43-year old Vallot Vainula, who prior to this year’s edition, won the gold medals 34 times. At the peak of his career, Vainula played professionally in the Spanish Superdivision, winning the bronze medal in 2009. Before the tournament, he was ranked first in the Estonian ranking.
However, Vainula managed to add two gold medals to his collection in doubles and mixed doubles events. In the singles event, the Estonian veteran reached the semi-finals stage, where he was knocked out by another experienced player – the 37-year old Aleksandr Smirnov (4-3). In the final, Smirnov faced Toomas Libene, who also had a thrilling 7-set victory against the 2021 Estonian singles champion Maksim Vuhka.
While both semi-finals brought a lot of uncertainty and it was had to predict the winner, the final match-up turned out to be pretty much one-sided. The more experienced Smirnov have away only one set to Libene and won 4-1. It was his 35th gold medal at the Estonian Championships, and he is now only two medals away from being the most accomplished Estonian player. The former Soviet and Estonian international Rein Lindmae has 37 titles on his resume, while Vainula has 36. It looks that the next year might be an opportunity for both – Smirnov and Vainula to get past Lindmae.
In the doubles event, Smirnov and Vainula won the final game, overcoming the duo of Stanislav Strogov and Aleksandr Lušin 3-2. In the mixed doubles event, Vainula and Airi Avameri relatively easily cruised to the gold medals, winning the final against Maksim Vuhka and Liidia Andreeva 3-0.
2022 ESTONIAN TABLE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDALISTS