On 10 September, President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite welcomed Latvian team athletes back from Tokyo Paralympics at the Riga Castle. Medal-winning athletes received special medals from President Levits in appreciation of their outstanding performance.
Here is what Patroness of the Paralympic movement in Latvia, Mrs Andra Levite, said to athletes, coaches and personnel of the Latvian team, as well as others who witnessed welcoming of athletes:
‘While you competed at the Tokyo games, the world continued to fight COVID-19, climate change-triggered natural calamities and refugee crisis. Although you might not think of it much, but you gave people a couple of days to take their mind off their problems. You gave them tremendous joy.
You gave lots of joy to Mr Nakasone, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. He was quick to point that out when he praised you for taking part in Tokyo games. He is also the chair of the Latvia-Japan parliamentary friendship group established by Japanese MPs, and he follows developments in Latvia with utmost scrutiny and interest.
You gave plenty of joy to Mr Konagi, Mayor of Fuji, whose city and sporting arenas became your home for the time of games. Your lasting impression on Mr Konagi has made him want to find a sister city in Latvia.
You gave a lot of joy to organisers and volunteers at the Tokyo Paralympics who were absolutely thrilled to see your athletic passion during competitions and ecstatic to see you win and, girls, see you wear those lively costumes.
You gave enormous joy to your families, friends and supporters who have been with you through intense training and daily grind.
You made two million Latvians who watched you compete happy and very proud.
Joy is the biggest gift one can give – you cannot quantify it, but it is something we cannot live without.
Thank you for what you did at the Tokyo games and best of luck in Paris in 2024!’
President of Latvia Egils Levits also congratulated athletes and supporters of the Paralympic movement: ‘The whole world was looking at you compete at the Tokyo Olympics as you proudly wore the name of Latvia on your chest making it resound all over the world. The whole Latvia is proud of what you have done and shares this moment of happiness with you.’
In appreciation of high achievements, President Levits presented the medal-winning athletes Diāna Dadzīte, Rihards Snikus and Aigars Apinis special presidential medals: ‘You had a long road to Tokyo. You grinded away, but you also had a lot of support. All of that has resulted in these five medals that you have brought back. That is an all-time best for Latvia and there are now words to describe how lucky we are to have you.’