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July 2, 2013
Lithuanian Ona Baboniene honored with the IOC Women and Sport Award Europe

Lithuanian Ona Baboniene won the IOC Women and Sport Trophy for Europe. (Photo by Maria Pia Beltran
by Nadia Al-Massalmeh, AIPS Young Reporter - Germany

LAUSANNE, July 2, 2013 - She is a shy woman. You can tell from her rather conservative dressing, grey skirt and jacket. Surrounded by all the sporting dignitaries she is almost unnoticeable. However, she is one of the main characters of this evening: Lithuanian Ona Baboniene.

She is honored with the IOC Women and Sport Award for Europe in Lausanne. The award is given to women whose outstanding contribution boosted the development of women’s participation in sport and sports administration.

The quiet Lithuanian has been supporting sports in her country all her life. Especially promoting sports activities among women and girls from rural areas. She was the head of a sports center for boys and girls and supported women in their campaigns for senior positions in sports organizations.

The sports lover was also head of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Education, Science, Culture and Sport. Furthermore, the IOC stressed that “During her mandate, the level of support for sport and physical activity by the government, especially related to the health of girls and women, had also grown.”

Baboniene is modest about her contribution. For her it is the passion for sports that pushes her forward in supporting it.

“I love sport. It is my life. It is easy as that,” she said.

“And I never expected I will be awarded for my job, which I just love!”

Ona Baboniene has organized for year a special event – students’ festival, which involved more than 200 000 participants an impressive number for a country of only 3 million inhabitants.

Although she has spent so much of her time and power supporting women in sports already, her mission is not done yet.

The 63-year-old plans to go back to parliament and push for the reopening of the sports center for the youth in Vilnius. “It is necessary to give kids a place to do sports,” offered Ona Baboniene.

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