• March 4, 2022
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15th World Winter Polonia Games “Wisła 2022”

On February 26, a 100-person delegation of athletes from the city of Vilnius as well as the Trakai, Šalčininkai, and Vilnius regions set off for the 15th World Winter Polonia Games.

On Sunday, February 27, representatives of the Vilnius region took part in the opening ceremony of the 15th World Winter Polonia Games “Wisła 2022”. Almost 500 participants from 21 countries took part in the competition, and the most numerous delegation were athletes from the Vilnius region – over 100 people visible at the opening ceremony.  What distinguished us from everyone else were the national flags of Poland and Lithuania, the symbols of the Vilnius Region and the Association of Poles in Lithuania (In Polish: Związek Polaków na Litwie – ZPL), and the vests marked with the ZPL emblem with the heading “VILNIUS REGION,” funded by the Main Board of the Association of Poles in Lithuania.

The opening ceremony was honored by the presence of Piotr Nowacki – Advisor to Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland, Kamil Bortniczuk – Minister of Sport and Tourism, Wojciech Kałuża – Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship, Tomasz Bujok – Mayor of the Vistula City, Janusz Podżorski – Chairman of the Vistula City Council, Andrzej Kraśnicki – President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Dariusz Piotr Bonisławski – President of the “Commonwealth of Poland” Association, Jarosław Narkiewicz – Vice-President of the Association of Poles in Lithuania, and other distinguished guests.

On the second day of the games, there was a competition in slalom and snowboarding. We had no chance to win our first medals in these disciplines, and our medal account was left unopened.

On the third day of the games, the representatives of the Vilnius region numerously took part in the Nordic Walking race in the center of the city of Vistula. The Nordic Walking route was set in the city park, and the start was in Bogumił Hoff Square. Boys and girls up to the age of 12 and 16 were the first to stand at the starting line of the 1.8 km route. Next, girls and ladies aged 17 and older competed over a distance of 3.6 kilometers, divided into age categories. Then it was time for the men, who also had 3.6 kilometers to run. In children’s categories of Nordic Walking, the athletes from Vilnius were definitely better, occupying the whole medal podium.

Gold medals of the 15th World Winter Polonia Games were won by Amelia Bernatowicz and Maksim Kunczin in the category up to 12 years, Gabriela Buchowskaja and Daniel Buchowski in the category 13-16 years, Martin Tomaszewicz in the category 17-20 years, Arnold Lepiochin in the category 21-35 years and Natalia Kunczin in the category 36-45 years. After the second day of the competition, athletes from the Vilnius region were ranked 2nd in the medal classification with seven gold medals. The games medalists in Giant Slalom and Nordic Walking were awarded by a 4-time Olympic Winter Games medalist in ski jumping, Adam Małysz. Moreover, after the award ceremony, a meeting with Małysz was held, and we took commemorative photographs.

Translated by Marta Graban within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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