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Lithuanian Olympians Help Prevent Drownings

26 | 9 | 2018

Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide and a major cause for concern in Lithuania where Olympians are getting behind an initiative promoting water safety awareness and education.

Driven by the Lithuanian Olympians Association (LOA), the project is targeting junior athletes across all sports to encourage better understanding of the risks associated with being near water.

“In the summer, water safety is an issue that affects everyone”, said LOA President and Olympic Swimming Champion Lina Inga Kachushite OLY. “Lithuania has a very high rate of drowning incidents - one of the highest in Europe – so we are trying to educate young people on how best to protect themselves in, on or near water.”

As part of the project LOA Vice-President Birute UÅūkuraityte Statkeviciene OLY, the first Lithuanian swimmer to participate in an Olympic Games (Munich 1972), has been visiting summer sports camps around the country, hosting workshops to improve swimming skills, encouraging safe behaviour near water and sharing ideas on Olympism and the Olympic values.

At one such camp for aspiring Olympic karate athletes near Kaunas – the second largest city in Lithuania - Birute and a team of experts instructed 50 junior athletes from the ages of 12 to 20 in swimming, lifesaving and first aid.

“As a swimmer, I was moved to get involved as this is an issue close to my heart and one where I felt Olympians could have a positive impact,” added Birute.

The LOA is also calling for a greater emphasis to be placed on water safety education nationwide with more attention devoted to children’s swimming lessons from an early age.

Image credit: IOC