The National Olympic Committee of Lithuania held its first virtual Olympic Education Forum ©LNOC

The National Olympic Committee of Lithuania (LNOC) has held its annual Olympic Education Forum virtually for the first time, with 1,300 people participating in the event.

The topic for the virtual forum was "Physical Literacy: a Different Point of View".

The LNOC said educators, coaches, representatives of municipalities, plus figures from the sport and education sectors, joined the event to listen to the discussions and presentations from recognised experts.

The First Lady of Lithuania Diana Nausėdienė and Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jurgita Šiugždinienė were among those in attendance to launch the forum.

LNOC President Daina Gudzinevičiūte said physical literacy was a vital issue for leaders to address, as the sixth edition of the forum opened.

"When we speak about literacy, we usually think about reading and writing," Gudzinevičiūtė said.

"However, physical literacy is of no less importance in an individual’s life.

"Fundamental movement skills, motivation and responsibility are essential to be physically active for life.

"Physical literacy is the key to creating a healthier society, therefore it is a question that needs to be addressed by the leaders."

Kremlin Wickramasinghe, programme manager of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the World Health Organization (WHO) was among the presenters.

Wickramasinghe outlined the programmes run by the WHO to promote health-enhancing physical activity within Europe.

"Physical inactivity is a risk factor for various diseases," Wickramasinghe said.

"The incidence of non-communicable diseases is also determined by the lack of physical literacy and the associated lack of willingness to move."

International experts participated in the event to discuss physical literacy ©LNOC
International experts participated in the event to discuss physical literacy ©LNOC

Rose–Marie Repond, former President of the European Physical Education Association from Switzerland, presented on the importance of physical literacy using her home country as an example.

Youth Sport Trust International trainer Kevin Barton highlighted the different stages of development across pre-school, primary school, and when students are over the age of 11, while suggesting specialisation in a sport at a young age is not a good idea.

Barton’s colleague Philippa Youlden, a lecturer from the United Kingdom, said that children cannot be compared with each other, as everyone’s physical development is different.

Lithuania’s Irma Liubertiene, head of the Positive Education Institute, gave a presentation outlining the importance of emotional literacy highlighting the need for children to view activity positively to ensure they pursue leisure activities later in life.

A presentation was also given by Drew Mitchell from Canada, a former professional athlete, coach and sports manager, who now works as a lecturer and director of physical literacy at the Sport For Life Association.

The LNOC said the presentations highlighted the importance of physical literacy, stressing it needs to be studied in the same way as other subjects.

An environment that encourages physical activity, the suitable conditions and an inspiring example of the adults around them were seen as vital in achieving physical literacy.