Italy’s judo federation apologizes to Lithuania for playing Soviet-era anthem

Judo competition
Organizatorių archyvas

The national anthem of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, which ceased to exist after Lithuania regained independence in 1990, was played for Lithuanian gold medalist Justina Kmieliauskaitė during the medal ceremony at the Cadet European Judo Cup in Follonica, in western Italy.

“The Italian Judo, Karate and Martial Arts Federation, on behalf of its president, Domenico Falcone, has sent a letter to Lithuania’s ambassador to Italy, Ričardas Šlepavičius, to apologize for the unjustifiable mistake when the wrong national anthem was presented during the ceremony of awarding of Justina Kmieliauskaitė,” Rasa Jakilaitienė, the spokeswoman, told BNS.

In response to the incident, Lithuanian diplomats last Monday sent a note to the Italian Foreign Ministry and letters to the Italian and European judo federations.

Justina Stalionė, secretary general at the Lithuanian Judo Federation, has said that the organizers had the right national anthem approved by the Lithuanian delegation before the ceremony.

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