Robin Jäätma, left, and Lisell Jäätma, right, won Estonia's first-ever European Games gold in compound archery at Kraków‑Małopolska 2023 ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Estonia's Chef de Mission at Kraków‑Małopolska 2023 Martti Raju has described medals at the European Games as "highly commendable".

The country won its first ever gold medals at the European Games in southern Poland through Robin Jäätma and Lisell Jäätma in the mixed team compound archery and Astrid Johanna Grents in the women's muaythai 60 kilograms category.

Rasmus Mägi also earned a silver in the men's 400 metres hurdles, ensuring Estonia placed 31st on the medals table.

The European Games has faced a battle for relevancy since its incarnation in Baku in 2015 given the crowded nature of the continental calendar, but the European Olympic Committees (EOC) has been buoyant about Kraków‑Małopolska 2023 with President Spyros Capralos pointing to innovations such as an agreement with the European Broadcasting Union in claiming the multi-sport event has "matured as a product".

Raju argued the Games provided a good gauge of the level of Estonia's athletes against their continental rivals.

"The medal is highly commendable," he said.

"The result of each area can only be evaluated in the context of the level at which the competition was held here.

"I'm glad that there were areas that we hadn't seen before and we got a good overview of their level compared to Europe."

Kraków‑Małopolska 2023 was the third edition of the European Games and the first held using a regional model ©Getty Images
Kraków‑Małopolska 2023 was the third edition of the European Games and the first held using a regional model ©Getty Images

Kraków‑Małopolska 2023 marked the first regional edition of the Games following on from Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019, with organisers placing an emphasis on using temporary and existing venues.

There were 29 sports on the programme, although gymnastics was among those that missed out due to a lack of a suitable venue.

Reflecting on the regional nature of the Games, Raju suggested in future teams should be assured of access to accommodation closer to their venues for all sports.

"The Poles had chosen only those competitions that could only be held in Kraków," Raju said.

"What was unique was that the competitions took place in many different cities and lived in different places.

"At the same time, it was incomprehensible why some sports were allocated to hotels in Kraków instead of spending the night in the sports village.

"In the future, the organiser of the Games will have two options, either to use the Polish scheme or to use the infrastructure that suits him."

A host for the 2027 European Games is expected to be decided at the EOC General Assembly in Istanbul in October.