The last weekend of January had been marked in the calendar by many of our students, employees, lecturers, and members of the rectorate for many months. The reason why 110 of the university’s most active people were not on campus: the representatives of 13 Estonian higher education institutions gathered in Kääriku to participate in the Student Winter Games for the seventh time.
Anna Suzdalev, member of board in student union | Fotod: @d0nkzzz, #MerilinKask
The event is hosted by the Estonian Academic Sports Federation, and during the three days, it is possible to take part in nearly 20 winter sports and entertainment fields. The competitions are highly versatile, and you can test your skills in both individual and team fields. The most popular fields of the winter games are the flipper race, the trivia quiz, winter volleyball, sledge pushing, and a snowball fight. How did TalTech do at the Winter Games this time?
The drive to Kääriku sports centre began in the early morning on 27 January. The event began with a traditional procession and opening ceremony, where our students were recognizable from afar by their cheerful pink tasselled hats.
Then, it was announced that the alumni association of our university would present two prizes of 500 euros to TalTech’s most active participants. To participate in the draw, you had to take part in at least eight fields. Such a prize fund made our students very happy, because the number of participants was incredibly large from the start. On the first day, there was a relay race, competitions of rectors, lecturers, and mascots, a flipper race, winter football, the ERGO race, mitten basketball, trivia quiz, relay sprint, beach-ball, and mudwrestling.
While the participants were doing sports in Kääriku, the TalTech Adventure Cycling Club started from Tallinn – they bring our university’s flag every year on bicycles. The bikers reached Kääriku before the start of the last competition – mudwrestling. This has been the most popular field of sports at the Winter Games throughout the years, and grandstands were set up to accommodate the large audience. TalTech’s international student Simone Ingrassia received second place in men’s mudwrestling, and as a surprise, the participants got to see Reet Pärgmäe, head specialist of the TalTech alumni movement, in women’s mudwrestling.
From the start of the first field to the end of mudwrestling, our university’s lecturers, employees, and rectorate were always either cheering others on or participating themselves. By the end of the first day, TalTech achieved 10 podium places, three of them first place.
Although the party and adventures went on until the wee hours of the morning for many students, everyone was ready by 10 the next morning to begin another day of sports. On the second day, the competition programme included a snowball fight, rainboot hockey, money tossing, ski sprint, winter swimming, poker, ski disc, winter volleyball, sledge pushing, and GIN-pong.
Traditionally, the most active university and the one with the best results is awarded a trophy at the Winter Games. Smaller universities mainly compete for the activity cup, since the number of students of the entire university is considered the main coefficient. However, TalTech and the University of Tartu have mostly competed for the achievement cup, the same can be said for this year. The difference in points between the two universities was sometimes only 0.5 points, and the number of podium places decided the winner in the end.
TalTech got 18 podium places in total, of which six first places, five second places, and seven third places. Every year, the representatives of higher education institutions select the most valuable participant of their school. Taltech’s award went to Karl-Sander Kljuzin, a student of the Maritime Academy, who reached the podium six times. And, finally, the time came to award the winners of the activity record and performance record. TalTech received third place for activity. Our students participated in various fields a total of 453 times, which is 60 more than in the previous Winter Games. TalTech placed second regarding performance, losing to the University of Tartu by only 12.5 points.
Despite coming in second, TalTech’s students were happy they could enjoy sports and entertainment before the start of the semester. One thing is for certain – who has not attended the Winter Games, has missed out on one of the largest events between Estonian higher education institutions ever.
Finally, we the Student Union, wish to thank our active employees, lecturers, and rectorate, who came to cheer their students on at the Winter Games. Certainly, we have the most active students and the most active and supportive employees. Thank you all and maybe, after reading this article, we can say that we will meet you at the next Winter Games?