Lithuanian girl, 10, takes women’s football by storm

first_img0Shares0000At 10, Zemyna Lekaviciute has become the youngest-ever scorer in Lithuania, hammering the ball into the back of the net after just five minutes on the pitch during a second-league match © AFP/File / Petras MalukasVILNIUS, Lithuania, Oct 3 – In basketball-obsessed Lithuania, women’s football is gaining new fans after the sensational debut of 10-year-old Zemyna Lekaviciute as the Baltic state’s youngest-ever scorer in a second-division match.After just five minutes on the pitch, Zemyna took a pass and sent the ball past goalkeeper Agne Ratkeviciute, who is more than twice her age, handing her Zalgiris Vilnius reserves team a 10-0 lead over Sesupe. “This was her very first appearance in (second-division) Lyga 1 and she became the youngest scorer in Lithuania,” beamed Svajunas Stravinskas, manager of the women’s football academy at Zalgiris.Passing the ball to Zemyna was Greta Jaroseviciute, the other youngster on the pitch born in 2006.Wearing the green shirt of the Zalgiris reserve team, and reaching barely up to her fellow players’ shoulders, Zemyna also grabbed an assist for a late goal that pushed the final score up to 11-0.– ‘Maximalist’ –It all started four years ago.Zemyna Lekaviciute’s love of football began when she was about six and her dad spotted an ad inviting children to play the game © AFP / Petras Malukas“One day, when my dad and I were going home from the kindergarten, we saw an ad inviting kids to play football,” says Zemyna, flashing a smile.At seven, when she started elementary school, she also started training with boys.“We strongly encouraged her to play,” says her father Evaldas Lekavicius, sitting on the team bench and talking about his passion for football and small teams like Iceland or the Balkan countries.“Today her greatest advantage is her speed,” he says, praising also his daughter’s character.“Zemyna is a maximalist. In our family, she has the strongest character,” Lekavicius added with a smile.At almost eleven, the girl wearing the number three, which her dad had worn during his amateur career, has become the hope of Lithuanian women’s football, together with Jaroseviciute.Zemyna has been practising passes, tactics and skills with much older girls three times a week on one of the few pitches in central Vilnius since 2016.Speed and ball control are her favourite aspects of the game.“Zemyna plays like a boy of the same age,” says her coach Oleg Kricun.“She’s a dribbler like no other. Her goal was extraordinary: a child who scores even though the ball arrived at the height of her belly,” he added.Zemyna Lekaviciute has been practising passes, tactics and skills with much older girls three times a week © AFP / Petras MalukasOn the day of the game, Zemyna’s parents were not at the stadium.“When Zemyna scored, the coach called us and said — ‘there you go’,” says her 42-year-old father, who works in genetic engineering.– Not just football –In her room, Zemyna displays a cup and 27 medals from other sports.Football is just one of her many passions. There is also scout camp, and she is dreaming about competing in a biathlon, a winter sport combining cross-country skiing and shooting.Women’s football in Lithuania is suffering from a lack of finances.Zemyna’s three weekly training sessions cost 45 euros ($50), against the average monthly wage of 817 euros. Equipment and transport are in addition.Zemyna Lekaviciute has become the hope of Lithuanian women’s football, which needs more funds © AFP / Petras MalukasZalgiris’s women’s football team is the only Vilnius-based team also playing in Lyga A, the country’s top flight division.It has received 3,000 euros in support from the city of Vilnius, while the men’s team secured a subsidy of 868,000 euros.Lithuania’s female footballers are now pinning their hopes on the 2018 under-17 European championship hosted by the country to help promote the sport and make life rosier for young players like Zemyna.0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Luxury cruise line Cuna

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterLuxury cruise line Cunard has launched its record 54-day season Down Under by unveiling a dramatic wardrobe makeover for its famous bell boys in collaboration with iconic Australian brand, R.M.Williams.Debuting on board Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth in Melbourne this week, R.M.Williams’ fresh take on the cruise line’s classic red and black bell boy uniforms is one of a series of exciting partnerships with Australian companies designed to celebrate a two-month season in local waters for the stylish 2081-guest ship.Presenting the uniforms, Cunard President Simon Palethorpe also revealed the cruise line’s plans to base Queen Elizabeth in Australian waters for an unprecedented 118 days over the 2020-21 summer, with Melbourne once again set to feature as a key homeport in the ship’s program.Image Credit: James D MorganIt will be the third consecutive summer deployment Down Under for the popular Queen Elizabeth, further building on its current 54-day season of cruises from Melbourne and Sydney and its scheduled 101-day season over the 2019-20 summer.Marking the start of Cunard’s first ever series of sailings from Melbourne as well as the longest Australian season yet for one of its current fleet of Queens, the cruise line launched partnerships with award-winning Melbourne whisky distillery STARWARD and acclaimed performance troupe Australian Dance Theatre, in addition to R.M.Williams and legendary Australian hat maker Akubra.Image Credit: James D MorganA first for the 179-year-old cruise line, the new seven-piece Aussie bell boy uniforms were designed by R.M.Williams – which boasts actor Daniel Craig and US President Bill Clinton among its star-studded clientele – with Australia’s warm summer weather in mind.Celebrating Cunard’s trademark colours of red, black and gold, the stylish ensemble features a red tailored jacket with gold nautical buttons and black cuffs, 100 per cent cotton black twill pants, handmade leather belts and R.M.Williams’ most recognised boots, The Craftsman, in striking Cunard red.The bell boys will also swap their traditional pillbox hats for custom-made brimmed Akubras, ideal for keeping off the summer sun.“Over the past decade we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of Australians travelling with Cunard so we wanted to acknowledge the importance of this market not only with Queen Elizabeth’s record deployment Down Under this year, but also with some groundbreaking partnerships,” Palethorpe said.He added: “We’re very excited that our bell boys are going to take on a modern Australian look while we’re based here over summer, and we think local cruisers will love the opportunity to enjoy a special drop of whisky and some extraordinary Australian dance performances during the season.”Image Credit: James D MorganThe arrival of Queen Elizabeth in Melbourne also marks the return of a very special piece of cargo – The Seafarer, a 225-litre barrel of Australian STARWARD whisky. Aged for two years at STARWARD’s Port Melbourne distillery, the barrel was loaded onto Queen Elizabeth last February and has spent 12 months travelling 95,000 nautical miles around the globe on a unique ‘maturation journey’ to create a first-of-its-kind single malt whisky.Australians can experience this rare whisky for themselves on board Queen Elizabeth during her season Down Under, and at STARWARD’s Port Melbourne distillery.Cunard’s fourth partnership will come to life when performers from the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) take to the stage for the cruise line’s first special event cruise Down Under – a six-night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing Melbourne on March 12, 2019.Image Credit: James D MorganDuring the voyage the ADT troupe will perform in their first-ever bespoke performance at sea, featuring two exclusive shows adapted from their latest work, The Beginning of Nature. Guests will be able to polish their own dance moves with movement classes led by ADT performers and the group’s Artistic Director, Garry Stewart, as part of a special itinerary building on the ship’s new wellbeing services.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more