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Sabonis Elected LKF President

24 October 2011
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE

Arvydas Sabonis and Nar Zanolin
Sabonis with FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin, when he was named the EuroBasket 2011 Ambassador

Basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis is the new president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation.

A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and FIBA Hall of Fame, Sabonis was the only candidate for the post.

Having served as the EuroBasket 2011 Ambassador, the 46-year-old Sabonis has taken over from outgoing LKF President Vladas Garastas, one of his former coaches.

"It's a great honour for me," Sabonis said.

"I am pleased to be able to contribute to the development of Lithuanian basketball."

"I am very pleased that Arvydas agreed to stand for election," Garastas said.

"I think it will lift our basketball to an even higher level.

"It's a very large role and authority, and Sabonis will carry it everywhere, all over the world."

Not long after the EuroBasket, Sabonis was playing in a pick-up basketball game and felt unwell.

He went to hospital in Kaunas and was told he had suffered a heart attack.

After spending a couple of weeks under the watchful eye of doctors, Sabonis was released .

While recovering, Mindaugas Balciunas, the secretary general of the basketball federation, had spoken of the need for Sabonis to lead the federation.

"His intention remains the same," Balciunas had said during Sabonis' recovery, "to be the president of the basketball federation of Lithuania, to help Europe and world basketball to grow.

"This is a priority in his life."

While speaking to reporters on Monday, Sabonis said: "It will be a pleasure to dedicate myself to the promotion of basketball, improve the finance and specify the rules.

"We also have to focus attention on women's basketball and persuade the young coaches to remain in Lithuania."

Sabonis also appealed for unity in the federation and "to leave behind personal ambitions."

As a player, Sabonis is recognized as one of the all-time greats.

He claimed four EuroBasket medals - one gold, one silver, two bronze - and was named European player of the year on six different occasions.

In 1988, he won an Olympic gold medal.

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