“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part”. Everyone knows this Olympic slogan. However, it is not valid for Kaunas judo team – hosts of the International Children’s Games (ICG ‘2017) do not conceal that they will fight only for the top places and they have only one goal – medals.
One of the leaders of Kaunas team is Ugnė Pileckaitė. At the age of eight the girl exchanged sports dancing into judo.
“The dance teacher was expecting a baby; therefore, there were no training classes for some time. I was a very agile child and had to be busy to unload; therefore, my father took me and my brother to judo classes. By the way, I still kept attending dancing classes and music school, and then judo was added,” told Ugnė not confining herself to one activity.
After she became seriously engaged in judo, there was no time for dancing in Ugne’s life. However, she kept attending the music school until now – next year the girl will also graduate from music school.
“I will graduate from the school next year. My specialty is pop singing. I also play the piano, attend all compulsory classes,” smiles Ugnė managing to be present in all places.
Everybody will probably agree that judo and other martial arts are mostly liked by boys. The girl is still looking for an answer why she has been captured namely by judo.
“This is a very difficult question. When I came to the first class, the coach told right away that I had the necessary physical capabilities for this sport. As a child, I was pleased to get so much attention, and immediately, after hardly two training classes, I went to the competition. Then I won my first medal – it was bronze. This immediately enthralled me. Maybe I liked it that there was no need in judo to fight, no bruises were left. It is really very difficult to answer what was most fascinating about judo,” smiles Ugnė.
Apart from Ugnė, the Kaunas judo team will be represented also by Gytis Gorbunovas and Jūra Subačiūtė who are preparing for the ICG very seriously. All this week the athletes worked in the training camp very hard.
“Preparation for the ICG has been going smooth so far. Currently we have a training camp. We attend training sessions twice a day, each day run a race of 4 km. We work, improve the technique,” told the coach Robertas Šmitas.
“I want it very much that we could show during the ICG what we are preparing now. I would like to show what I can very much. I know that very strong representatives from Poland, Latvia are coming; therefore, it will not be easy indeed,” told Ugnė.
Judo representatives broke one more stereotype. For Ugnė, the expression “the walls of one’s own home are helping” is not valid.
“You come to know everybody when you communicate with everybody. I am a sociable person, we talk after fights, and then we have to step on a tatamis and fight. I think that the most important thing in judo is self-confidence. This is what I am still lacking,” confesses the athlete.
Meanwhile Mr. Šmitas talks with confidence – judo representatives know what they want to achieve in the ICG.
“This is the world children’s game. The goals are highest. The ICG is the first step towards the Olympic Games. For us the saying “The most important thing is taking part” does not apply. We need a medal,” claimed the coach.