Kalev - hosting union
Let's get acquainted with Estonian Kalev
The Estonian Sport Association Kalev was established in May 1901. In two years it will celebrate its 110th anniversary. Throughout the years, Kalev has been organizing both, top sport as well as amateur sport activities, being successful in the years of the Soviet regime ( 1940-1991) as well as an independent republic (1918- to the present time).
Kalev sportsmen have won medals of different colour at the Olympic Games, World and European Championships and in various sport disciplines. Estonian sportsmen have been most successful in athletics, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, swimming, motor sports, ralley, canoeing, under water swimming and gymnastics. Kalev's colourful history has been recorded in four volumes.
This year the fifth book is to appear and preparatory works are going on on the sixth volume. Decisive political events during the last decade of the 20th century brought along essential changes: the role of big sport organizations diminished, hundreds of smaller sport unions, clubs and societies came into life.
After Estonia regained its independence, Kalev concentrated on organizing popular and junior sport activities on national and international level. In 2006, Kalev organized the World Popular Sport Olympiad in South Estonia, hosting more than 3000 participants from 36 countries of four continents. Kalev hikers, runners and cyclists are expected participants in different international events. Kalev is a member of five international sport organizations.
Today Kalev has 15 000 members. More than one hundred coaches work in ten youth sports schools. Kalev owns several ball game teams, which belong to the Estonian Champions League. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, ten kalevites belonged to the representative team of Estonia. Gerd Kanter returned with a gold medal in discus throw. In March 2009, long jumper Ksenja Palta was crowned the European champion.
For years Kalev aesthetic group gymnasts have been the magnet for the audience. They have been crowned the world champions twice and now and again win high places at World Cup competitions. We can be confident in the success of the massive gymnastics gala that will be held in the framework of CSIT Games with 5000 gymnasts participating and hopefully more spectators.
International competitions with long traditions make the events of the sports association more attractive. They always bring some world celebrities to the capital of Estonia raising the interest of spectators and media towards Kalev activities.
Kalev's most popular competitions
The most popular international competition is the tournament of seven-time chess Olympic winner Paul Keres - Paul Keres Memorial, held in January. The number of participants set a new record in 2006 with 164 chess players, among them 31 Grand Masters. Sportsmen as Anatoli Karpov, Aleksei Shirov, Judith Polgar, Pia Cramling, Vassili Ivantshuk, Viktor Kortshnoi, Boriss Spasski and many other high ranking chess players have added sparkle to the tournament.
In March-April, Kalev will organize three competitions for group gymnasts, among them the World Cup stage in aesthetic group gymnastics. For more than twenty years already, wrestlers compete in autumn in memory of the two-time Olympic winner Kristjan Palusalu. One of the biggest competitions of the swimming season in Estonia is the Kalev Open, where Estonia's best athletes match with the world's best athletes.
Every five years, Kalev Games take place, being a kind of mini Olympics for kalevites and their guests. Young people, amateur sportsmen and professional athletes meet in different sport disciplines. The upcoming Kalev Games are the fourth and they take place simultaneously with the 2nd CSIT Games .