Alekna's family values

Alekna's family values
Getty Images

Lithuanian discus legend Virgilijus Alekna is still competing at a high level at the age of 44!

Legend is a word often over used in sport. But not when it comes to Lithuanian discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna, who at the age of 44 is still competing.

And it might just be that the name Alekna remains on people’s lips for a very long time to come.

At the end of last month, the Lithuanian Throwing Championships in Vilnius brought two eye-catching results as Virgilijus Alekna won the senior event while the under-18 competition was won by Martynas Alekna.

Like father, like son? It is looking that way.

Martynas is only 15 and of course these are early days in anyone’s career at the age, but when your dad has a medal collection that is among the best in the history of the sport, that is quite a teacher to learn from.

As Virgilijus won at the championships with 59.53m, Martynas triumphed in his competition, using the 1.5kg discus, with 40.91m.

Watch this space…

Winning, though, is very much in the blood of this teenager because when he was just a one year old, his father gave him a present of an Olympic gold medal from his glory in Sydney in 2000.

Virgilijus went on to retain the title four years later in Athens before taking bronze in Beijing 2008. During that time he was also crowned the European champion in Gothenburg 2006 and world champion in Paris 2003 and Helsinki 2005.

As he revealed after his victory in the French capital, that gold was for his other boy, Mykolas, who was approaching his first birthday but more than a decade later, dad is still thriving on being at the heart of the action.

He was back at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich 2014 where he finished 21st in qualifying while his win in Vilnius puts him 36th on the European Athletics rankings.

Do not be surprised if we see him again at the Europeans in Amsterdam in two months time…and it might not be long until a young man with the same surname is looking to make a mark of his own.