12 Vasaris 2017
08 Balandis 2014
The first race walking competitions in Alytus was held four decades ago. In 1975 19 athletes from Alytus, Birštonas and Druskininkai took part in the event. The number of participants has been growing every year. The competition became popular in Lithuania and well known in foreign countries. Competitors from 36 countries, including Algeria, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Israel, Tajikistan, Italy, Azerbaijan, Sweden, France, Russia, Greece, Serbia, Spain, Mexico, represented their states in these competitions. The most numerous competitions were in 1988 – 386 athletes took part and even more were willing to compete, however due to lack of accommodation facilities they were refused the possibility. The Alytus’ festival was one of the first, where sport and culture were connected, and one of the first in Eastern Europe, where the winners received valuable money or material prizes. Some famous race walkers started their sports career in the Alytus’ festival.
Alytus has seen Olympic, World, European, African, American or Asian champions and silver or bronze medallists, as well as World record-holders. On the streets of Alytus one could see E. Nikolajeva, V.Cibulskaja, E. Misiulia, O. Kardopolceva, S. Eidikytė, K. Saltanovič, A. Perlov, R. Veigel, P. Počenčuk, A. Potašov, V. Kazlauskas, A. Fadejevs, J. Diniz. T. Gudkova, E Sanchez, T.Nymark, G. Sudol. In 1980 the first competition for women was held here. Sportswomen were wearing skirts, what now may make one smile, but at that time it was normal.
Alytus may be proud not only of this festival, but also of its athletes. R.Šimkevičius, R. Erlingytė, D. Baranauskaitė and A. Lebedžius became champions, silver or bronze medallists of the USSR. The latter won European Junior Championships bronze medal. Alytus people can also be proud of the four race walkers, who represented Lithuania at the Olympic Games. Gintaras Andriuškevičius competed on the Olympic course in Athens, brothers Škarnuliai made their debut in Beijing, Brigita Virbalyte contested in London Olympics.
Lithuanian athletes and athletes from many foreign countries will contest for valuable money or material prizes, and will strive to achieve the qualification standards for this year World Championships.
Founder and organizer of the Alytus’ festival