Physical Education and Sports in Lithuania
Zemaites str. 6
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With the restoration of independence in Lithuania and the re-establishment of the state, wide and promising opportunities opened up for the development of sports. The sports administration system has been reconstructed, and new state and public sports organizations have been set up. Issues connected with physical education and state sports administration are managed by the Physical Education and Sports Department, a governmental institution set up in 1990. In 1991, the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania re-established its membership of the International Olympic Committee, and various sports federations in the country also re-established their membership of other international organizations. Lithuanian sportsmen have been granted the right to participate in the Olympic Games, European and World Championships, the Universal Games and the Paraolympic Games. Lithuania has been granted the opportunity to organize the European and World Championships of various disciplines of sport.|
There are 78 Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations in Lithuania, and 96 disciplines of sports are practised. Lithuanian Union of Sports Federation was founded in 1993. The "Sports for All" association has been founded to promote a healthy way of life and physical education for all the people of Lithuania.
There are over 800 sports clubs in the country. The most popular sports are basketball, soccer, body-building, track and field athletics, sport dances and tennis. More than 52,000 people of all ages attend sports clubs on a regular basis.
The Lithuanian Olympic Sports Centre is involved in training skilled sportsmen and sportswomen. Municipalities throughout the country run 103 specialized sports centres that are attended by nearly 52,000 schoolchildren, and all 56 municipalities in the country have PE and Sports departments.
The government passed a PE and Sports Act in 1995, setting the basic legal rights and functions of the sports organizations and regulating other issues concerning physical education and sports.
There are 6190 people working in the sports structures in Lithuania. Specialists in physical education (holding bachelor's, master's or doctor's degrees) are trained in the Physical Education Institute and Vilnius Pedagogical University, and an Expert Council of Sports Science has been founded. The periodicals "The Science of Sport" and "Coach" are published.
Immediately after the re-establishment of independence, Lithuanian sportsmen participated in the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville and Lillehammer and the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona and Atlanta. The discus-thrower, Romas Ubartas won a gold medal in Barcelona, and the national Men's Basketball Team won bronze medals in Barcelona and Atlanta. Representatives in other sports such as boxing, kick-boxing, cycling, basketball, body-building, track and field athletics, sports dances, modern pentathlon, triathlon, motorcycling and aviation have won prizes in the European and World Championships. Numerous disabled sportsmen have earned the title of Champion and won prizes in the Paraolympic Games. In 1993, the Lithuanian mountaineer Vladas Vitkauskas reached the summit of Mount Everest. Later, he climbed the highest mountains on all the continents.
The country currently has 50 stadiums, 1187 gymnasiums, 141 tennis courts, 57 swimming pools, 8 centres for track and field athletics and 14 rowing bases. The largest cities in Lithuania all have specialized sports bases: an ice-skating hall in Kaunas, a cycle track in Klaipeda, tennis centres in Vilnius and Siauliai, rowing centres in Birstonas and Vilnius, a winter sports centre in Ignalina, the Sarunas Marciulionis Basketball Complex in Vilnius, the Arvydas Sabonis Basketball Centre in Kaunas and yacht clubs in Kaunas and Klaipeda.
Physical Education and Sports Department
The Lithuanian National Men's Basketball Team won a bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
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