Members of the Lithuanian community in Iceland have founded a sports association with the goal to enable young and old to practice sports and assist immigrants to adapt to Icelandic society. They also hope to improve the image of Lithuanians in Iceland.
“We want to show that we’re not all bad people,” one of the association’s founders and chairman Algirdas Slapikas told Fréttabladid. “Because of all the negative coverage in the newspapers […] we want to help improve the image of immigrants, which a few individuals have damaged.”
The association’s origins can be traced back to when the basketball team Lituancia participated in the Icelandic second league in men’s basketball last fall.
The Icelandic Basketball Association (KKÍ) made it a condition that the team was linked to an association, which got the ball rolling.
Among board members are three handball players, Ramune Pekarskyte, Kristina Kvedarine and Romualdas Gecas, who have all played with Icelandic teams.
In addition to handball and basketball, Slapikas is hoping that football and other sports will be practiced within the new association. He emphasized that it is open to everyone, both immigrants and Icelanders.
Approximately 1,500 Lithuanian citizens live in Iceland.