True Lithuania

Lithuanian Games of 2017 conclude in Kaunas

2017 07 02. The 10th Lithuanian Games have concluded in Kaunas after 3 days of competitions in 19 disciplines, ranging from chess and bowling to basketball and football.

As every 4 years, the Lithuanian Games have invited amateur sportsmen from the Lithuanian diaspora to visit Lithuania for the competition against other Lithuanians, having an opportunity to speak Lithuanian.

Lithuanian Games basketball semifinal between Lithuanians from Latvia and Lithuanians from the UK. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

The tradition of Lithuanian Games began in 1938 when they were known as the "Lithuanian national olympiad". The event could have become regular but sadly it was the last time many of its participants came back to their home country as Lithuania was occupied in 1940. The tradition was resuscitated by the diaspora in 1978 when the Lithuanian Games were held in Canada with some 1000 participants from various Lithuanian communities.

They were then held every 5 years in a different country that has a strong Lithuanian diaspora. Since 1991, as Lithuania became independent, the games are held every 4 years in Lithuania.

Over the time, the represented communities have changed. With the aging and assimilation of the interwar and post-WW2 communities, countries with major Lithuanian diaspora such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia or Venezuela were not represented this time. However, the total number of countries representing is increasing, with a few amateur sportsmen coming from among recent emigrants (primarilly from Europe).

The largest "older" communities from the Western countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia were also represented.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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