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The big-time sports escape from fylfot in Lithuania …

“O Sport - you are the peace!” Who is not familiar with this noble slogan of the Olympic movement?! Let’s recall that Pierre de Coubertin turn to the humanity with the words of the necessity to resurrect the best traditions of the ancient Greeks, just because he understood that: we can be better and sport can unite all the planet inhabitants. But, that is the way that the politics needed everywhere.

Let’s just recall the numerous boycotts of the Olympic Games on the side of various states. It appears to be that in recent years, the number of the problems of such kind became less, however still there are the ones, who confuse sport with politics, notably; they are very close to us.
But before that, let’s meet the heroine of our story. Donata Rimsaite, the master of sports pentathlon, the second number of world rating, the winner of the final stage of the World cup-2009, the silver medalist of the last year world superiority. The praises of the Lithuanian sportswoman, were estimated worthily: she became the chevalier of the “Order of Merit for Lithuania”. All country was proud on Donata, and today she is called exceptionally by the name of … traitor.

So, what happened? How the hero of sports competition (let’s note, that there are not a lot of such people in Lithuania), passed into an outlaw suddenly. And the thing is that the Lithuanian sportswoman has decided to move to Russia.

There are various reasons as usual. For example, to the press service of the Pentathlon federation of the Russian Federation, Donata Rimsaite explained them as follows: “The decision to move to Russia that I took wasn’t made spontaneously. The first offer I received three years ago and I didn’t rush with the decision – as I was too young. But the time was going on, the situation in Lithuania became worse, and in Russia to the contrary, a lot of positive changes to pentathlon were made. At home the sportsmen together with all country outlive the results of the economic crisis. The scholarship of the sportsman is very modest. I have communicated a lot with the colleagues from Russia and knew that their scholarships exceed mine by 2-3 times – notwithstanding that at the international championships I demonstrated better success. But, the determinative in my decision was, of course, not the size of the scholarship – the crisis embraced the sports in Lithuania totally. The only good pool in Vilnius for the trainings last year has been closed down for more than half season, a lot of difficulties were with the appropriate base searching for permanent trainings – the Federation had to go thought serious budget prune even of the first team. In short, the decision that I took was advisable”.

But, also the love has played the important role here! The Lithuanian sportswoman married the Russian pentathlonist. That wedding was already held. The Surname that is already well known in the world of pentathlon, Donata didn’t change.

As the Lithuanian side would start accusing the sportswoman right away in treason, she had to explain regularly her decision motives. During the conversation with the famous journalist, Elena Voytsekhovskaya (“Sport-express”) Donata Rimsaite, once again explained that:

«In Lithuania, unfortunately, the elite sport is forgotten in some way. While training there, I have thought many times of the fact that I could perform the maximum until the London games. After that I would have to retire: it is hard to work, when there are not any conditions for that.

The perspectives of trainings and the extension of my career in Russia I saw in quite totally different light. That is why I thought: why not? Why not to try the prolongation of my career? “

Here in Vilnius and in our country generally, the biggest problem is with the sports bases – no money to build new or reconstruct the old ones. There is also no money to send the sportsmen for training to foreign countries. And sometimes – there is not one also for the championships. I understand that the results of the Lithuanian pentathletes witness other, but it was really hard to force yourself to reach after something at all”.

The Journalist has asked the question that bothers the fans of spots in both Lithuania and Russia: “But, you certainly understood that with changing your citizenship you can lose the opportunity to take part in the Olympic Games in London. It didn’t scare you? The reply of Donata was as follows: “Frankly speaking, not. If these games were my only goal in sports that I maybe thought differently. But, it is not my only goal”.

Besides, the “new Russian” shouldn’t face any problems in Russia. Vyacheslav Kalinin, who has trained her for seven years, explained why: “She won’t face any difficulties related to the familiarization. And indeed, she talks well in Russian, she has the Russian roots. Moreover her friend is in Moscow. So, the love and the sports capabilities affected her decision”. The sportswoman herself also explained: “I didn’t think much about it. First of all, thanks to my father I have spoken Russian since I was born. I has grown with the Russian estrade, Russian movies. That is why I don’t feel myself as foreign in Russia. I don’t think that I could feel myself so comfortable”.

And at that time in Lithuania, there were written a lot of things about the champion. For example such thing:
“…Departed to Russia Rimsaite and her fosters Kimble, to get the permission for her to participate in the Russian select team.

…Escaped to Russia Rimsaite can’t represent her new motherland at the moment – the regulations of the Olympic charter don’t allow her to participate in the international competitions. This makes angry the leaders of the Russian Federation of the modern Pentathlon – they try to receive the documents that will allow Rimsaite to participate in the international championship and Olympic Games…”

According to the local jingos, Donata Rimsaite spitted upon the motherland and deserved all kind of contempt. But the sports experts assume that this reaction is assigned not only by the emotions: judge yourself, the talented young star of the Lithuanian sport departs – not to whithersoever, but to Russia! Can the Baltic democrats survive something like that? In sober fact, they are very afraid that the others can follow Rimsaite example. And from that reason, there shall be penalized exercise for the “fugitive”.

Here is how the president of the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania, Arturas Poviliunas says on this matter: “For me, personally, the behavior of Rimsaite is some sort of abuse. For the first time during 22 years that I the head of the Olympic Committee of Lithuania, the sportsmen do not keep its word. But any propositions regarding Rimsaite are unacceptable for us. Here the citizenship issues are involved. In any case, we will not give our approval as to the Rimsaite participation under the Russian flag”.

The ex-trainer of Rimshayte repeats the same thing that the officer said, that states: “Donata will ruin it all. Our situation was unenviable even before that. The best of our sportswoman refuses to defend the honor of our country. Can you imagine, to what consequences it will lead? Moreover, I believe that other Lithuanian sportsmen will follow her example”.

But, it doesn’t matter what Lithuanian politicians dream about the sport, there are specific rules. And in full accordance with these rules, the Russian Federation of modern pentathlon has received the message from the International federation with the permission for the sportswoman to play for the Russian picked team on the championships of the world and Europe and on the World cups stages. The sportswoman has announced, “I am very happy, about the permission to participate in the international championships, even after long waiting”. By the way, before the verdict is in, Donata Rimsaite has managed to win the winter Russian championship.

There is only one problem now – if the sportsman changed his citizenship, without receiving the permission of the Olympic committee of its country, then again, under the rules, during three years the sportsman is not allowed to take part in the Olympic Games. At this place, as the saying is, the key problem is. The Lithuanian man of sports, are totally against, the decision of the National Olympic committee to allow Donata Rimsaite to defend the colors of Russia in the Olympic Games in London. If this position does not change, then the pentathlonist will be able only to dream about the next Olympiad that will take place in five years in Rio de Janeiro.

Seemingly, there is a need to support the sportswoman: even though she has changed her citizenship, but indeed the sports world knows that she is from Lithuania! Even though, there was a place for the precedents in the sports world. For example, here it is the mirror situation: two and half years ago the Russian pentathlonist Juliya Kolegova moved to Lithuania and… won for her new motherland the European championship. In the interview for the “Soviet sports” the president of the Modern pentathlon federation of the Russian Federation said: “Russia didn’t start to protest. We live in the democratic society. Such moves are the normal events. Everything must be solved in favor of the sportsman”.

Are the additional examples needed? Here is more: in 2010 the one of the leaders of Belarus picked team Alexander Lesun decided to play for Russia – in Belarus they understood his position – the ones didn’t start with getting on the way of the sportsman. Already being in the Russian command he became the prizewinner of world championship and he one of the main challengers to participate in the London Olympiad.

Most of the well-known sportsmen, because of the problems related to the citizenship, missed the Olympic Games and it is sadly. For example, our famous goal-keeper Eugenie Nabokov that had citizenship of Kazakhstan couldn’t participate in the hockey championship in 2002. And six years earlier the Olympic Games on track and field athletics lost a lot because of the absence of famous Wilson Kipketer that changed his Kenyan citizenship on Danish one. There are different situations, but in the situation with Donata Rimsaite everything is evidently: here is only the politics and no sport is involved. As it is not a secret that the sportswoman was proposed more than once to move to other country, promised whole mountains of gold, but she picked Russia. Vyacheslav Aminov has no doubt that politics for Lithuania are on the first place: “I think, if Donata moved to Great-Britain or USA, the Lithuanians would react in different way”.

But, let the politics ride, Rimsaite has already started to win, playing for the picked team of Russia, and if she does not get the permission to participate in London, she will try to prove for everyone that she is the best four years later in Brazil.

The Russian sportswoman is sure, that she is supported not only by entire Russia. In Lithuania also there are people that root for her: “Relatives and friends are concerned about me. Nearly after I got the message with the permit to play for Russian picked team, I called them right away – they were very happy for me, they wished me the successful debut in new team. It would be great to see them in Moscow on the world championship – the support of my relatives is very important for me!”

Of course such events could be taken as next folly of some Lithuania political activists, if it was not one “but”: quite recently… neo-Nazis delivered a speech in German language in very heart of the Lithuanian capital!
March 11, on the day of the renaissance of the independence, the march of both racists and neo-Nazis along the central prospect of Vilnius, protected by the police was. For the first time, by the opinion of the lrytas.lt website, this “parade” with the fylfots called objections of anti-fascist society - notably by the Lithuanians themselves – that finally and the leaders of the state were forced to call things by their names and to condemn the “incitement of the ethnic discord”. However, as some commentators write, criminated “through clenched teeth”, not in sufficient manner, apropos: without clarification of the responsibility of these people from the Vilnius town-hall, who gave the permit to carry out this unprecedented for civilized Europe racist demonstration? How should feel themselves living in Lithuania the national minorities, when they hear screams of aggressively disposed crowd that counts in thousands and read the banners “Lithuania – to the Lithuanians!”, “For Lithuania, people and race!”, “We are the white brothers!”? Must they gather their items right now and leave the country? And what “non-white” should do? Must they prepare for crematoriums? Notably this refers to the following citizens of Lithuania: Russians, Poles, Jews, Bohemians that were born and they grew on this land. So what we should say about the real immigrants that don’t have “citizenship”, the website notes.

Of course, no one respectable and sane man would want to live, work and go in for sports in the country where the fylfots and the Nazism is being glorified publicly. The following has probably happened with the sportswoman Donata…

Viewed : 3391   Commented: 2

Author: Владимир Кузменкин

Publication date : 03 June 2011 12:29

Source: The world and we

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