Will Lithuanian sport face any changes?
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the changes in sport, the possibilities of change in its structure and management, and the ratio between sport and public physical activity. “At present, European countries focus on healthy lifestyle and physical activity. We want to convey this message to Lithuanian people related to sport. In Lithuania, the concept of sport involves achievements in elite sport and physical activity. However, insufficient attention has been paid to the latter. A strategy has been developed, but we would like to propose an action plan on how to best implement it and investigate what is needed to promote wellness of the population. We all know that health of Lithuanian people of all age groups is getting worse”, said the Rector of Lithuanian Sports University (LSU) Dr. Aivaras Ratkevičius.
LSU and the Commission for Youth and Sport Affairs of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania invited to the Sports Forum where discussions about the challenges of the implementation of national sports policy and solutions to them took place. Heads of the Seimas, Department of Physical Education and Sports, National Olympic Committee of Lithuania, Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuanian sports federations, associations and clubs as well as the representatives of different areas of sport took part and shared their insights in the event.
The President of Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) Edvinas Eimontas shared his insights on the cooperation of different stakeholders in the implementation of sports policy. “Sports community must meet and talk more often. We need to agree on the vision of Lithuanian sports system, we must picture it in 5-10 years. What roles should be played? Are we going to change the system, which has been run for 27 years without noticeable changes? Shall we leave everything as it is?”, asked the President of LFF. The Director of the Department of Physical Education and Sports (KKSD) Edis Urbanavičius agreed with Edvinas Eimontas. “Changes in sport are necessary. We have to carry out structural changes and resolve regulatory issues. This is important in order to improve the funding for sport and physical activity promotion”, said the Head of KKSD.
In the Sports Forum, the Rector of LSU Dr. Aivaras Ratkevičius shared global experience presenting the most effective physical activity development strategies. The Director of the association “Sportas visiems” (“Sport for All”) Giedrius Grybauskas put forward arguments that strengthening sports identity is the priority in sports development.
Sport, as a rapidly expanding sector of the European economy, creates about 3 percent of GDP and 3.5 percent of jobs in Europe. At present, the number of physically active people and sports professionals in Lithuania is several times behind the number in the developed European countries. One can predict that the number of physically active people in Lithuania will increase. Therefore, we will need more trainers, physical therapists, and specialists of adapted physical activity and leisure.
Moreover, sports scientists claim that lack of physical activity is one of the biggest problems in our country. We should be particularly concerned about children's physical health. The study carried out by LSU researchers showed that physical fitness has the greatest impact on sustainable growth and development of a child. However, children's physical health has drastically deteriorated in the past twenty years.
The participants of the Sports Forum adopted a declaration which emphasizes the need to develop and implement a long-term sports strategy, as well as health promoting physical activity, consolidate sports science and study process in Lithuanian Sports University through application of higher education and research organization standards of the highest international level and other relevant issues.
Information provided by Lithuanian Sports University