On the Day of the Baltic unity on September 22, a new tradition – the Latvian and Lithuanian annual badminton team game – is being started in Lithuanian border town Biržai. Starting the tradition in 2017 Latvian and Lithuanian U15 played, but next year also U17, U19 and adult team matches will be scheduled, as well as a joint dinner and meeting for organizers of both countries’ badminton’s life.
The Lithuanian U15 national team won the first team game. Lithuanian youth won boys and girls singles as well girls ‘doubles, but the young people of Latvia were stronger in mixed and boys’ doubles.
The winner was determined by the format offered by the French Badminton Federation and played at the European School Championships in France – The first team to score 105 points wins the team match, instead of playing the best of 3 sets per event. The five events take place one after the other in the following order on the same court. The event ends when one team has scored 21, 42, 63, 84, 105 points.
The cooperation between the Latvian and Lithuanian badminton federations is currently considered to be very friendly and productive. Each year in June BWF Future Series tournaments are organized in cooperation, 2/3 of the participants are the same, as it is advantageous for players to enter two tournaments instantly in one journey.
“This year, the regional project of Badminton Europe organized by Latvia took place not in Latvia but in the city of Klaipėda. While in the summer, the strongest young people in Latvia trained along with Lithuanian youth. Latvia guaranteed to send 4 umpires to any Lithuania’s BWF tournaments. The tournaments in the border area of Lithuania are included in the Latvian ranking, thus motivating Latvian players to participate in Lithuanian tournaments,“ explains Kristians Rozenvalds, the Secretary general of the Latvian Badminton Federation.
One of the initiators of the event was Mayor of Biržai Mr. Valdemārs Vaļkuns. Special events were created for the participants of the match, including a concert in the courtyard, mayor’s greetings, a joint singing of the anthem of both countries and a torch walk after dinner in the restaurant.
On September 22, Latvia and Lithuania celebrate the Day of the Baltic Unity. This holiday was established in 2000 to commemorate the Battle of Saule which was fought in 1236. In this battle, Baltic tribes defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword.
Kristians Rozenvalds believes that that the Day of the Baltic Unity is very suitable for organizing the annual Latvian and Lithuanian badminton team matches. “In many parts of the world there is such a tradition among neighboring countries of annual games, they are preparing for almost all year round, and are one of the brightest local badminton events of the year,” said Kristians Rozenvalds.