Estonia’s Gerd Kanter and Lithuania’s Virgilijus Alekna will highlight Baltic hopes when the 2011 IAAF World Championships take place in Daegu, South Korea from Aug. 27 until Sept. 4. The pair have dominated the men’s discus event in the Samsung Diamond League this season with the 39-year-old Alekna holding a slight lead over 32-year-old Kanter with two events remaining, following the interlude for the World Championships. Kanter and Alekna will first be in action on the morning of the 29th, when they attempt to qualify for the final, which will take place on the evening of the 30th. Other Baltic athletes who stand a good chance of medaling in South Korea are Latvia’s Vadims Vasilevskis, who will compete in the men’s javelin, and his compatriot Ineta Radevica, who will compete in the women’s long-jump – an event she won last year at the European Athletics Championships. Radevica will be in action on the 27th with her final set to take place on the evening of the 28th, while Vasilevskis will attempt to qualify for his javelin final on Sept. 1, with the final set to take place on the evening of Sept. 3. In total, 40 Baltic athletes are expected to participate across 21 disciplines in the World Championships.
Lithuania has claimed a gold and silver medal at the recently completed ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. Tomas Gadeikis and Raimundas Labuckas were able to make it a three-peat in the Men’s C2 200m, while Ricardas Nekriosius and Andrej Olijnik finished second in the Men’s K2 500m final. It is now the third consecutive championship in which Gaedikis and Labuckas have claimed gold. The pairing held off Russia’s Victor Malentiev and Nikolay Lipkin by a mere 0.312 seconds, while Dzmitry Rabchanka and Aliaksandr Vauchetski claimed bronze for Belarus. Participating in the same race was the Latvian pairing of Gatis Pranks and Antons Knesis, who finished back in seventh position – 1.170 seconds behind the Lithuanians. The gold medal showing also earns Gadeikis and Labuckas a place in next year’s Olympics in London, where they will go into the event as favorites. Joining them in London will be compatriots Nekriosius and Olijinik, who finished in second position behind locals David Toth and Tamas Kulifai in the Men’s K2 500m final. The Lithuanians finished in one minute, 28.524 seconds, 0.390 seconds behind the Hungarian pairing. Another Lithuanian, Jevgenij Shuklin, also put in an impressive performance, finishing fifth in the Men’s C1 200m final in a time of 30.879 seconds, 0.540 seconds behind race winner Valentin Demyanenko of Azerbaijan.
In recognition of the contribution that Lithuanian basketball center Zydrunas Ilgauskas made to NBA franchise the Cleveland Cavaliers, the club has hinted at the fact that they are planning on retiring his number – an honor extended to only six other players in the history of the Cavaliers. According to lithuaniabasketball.com, the news came to light when Kyrie Irving – who was picked at number one overall by the Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA draft – expressed an interest in playing with the number 11, which had been Ilgauskas’ number from 1997 until 2010, when he played for the club. Irving was allegedly told by Cavaliers management that the number was unavailable due to their plans to retire it. In 12 seasons playing for the Cavaliers, Ilgauskas appeared on the court 771 times, which remains a team record. He also holds the Cavaliers records for rebounds (5,904) and blocked shots (1,269). Ilgauskas left the club at the end of the 2009/2010 season, moving to Miami to hook up with former teammate Lebron James, playing for the Heat.