A national spartakiad -- a massive exhibition of athletics and physical education displays -- began in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Tuesday (30 October).
A national spartakiad -- a massive exhibition of athletics and physical education displays -- began in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Tuesday (30 October). It celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of Albania from Italian occupation.
SYNOPSIS: In customary style the spartakiad opened with a march past of competitors in the packed stadium with a flourish of flags.
The most prominent spectator among officials was the country's leader Enver Hoxha.
This spartakiad is similar to the more celebrated event which took place in Moscow during last summer, the climax of months of preparation for thousands of young people in a socialist state. Those who have qualified in numerous competitions throughout the country took part.
The crowd sported banners wishing long life to Enver Hoxha, their leader since 1944, who has applied a system of rigid Marxism to his country.
These children were among the first of the fifteen thousand competitors to perform in the arena. Albanian Television described the occasion as a manifestation of the strength, the health, and the vitality of the youth of socialist Albania, living evidence of its readiness to learn, work and defend their homeland. They have no wider arena to graduate to, because Albania does not take part in the Olympic Games, and international athletics tournaments. Sport is a projection of the political isolation their leaders have chosen to pursue.
There is no shortage of children to compete, because Albania's birth rate has been cited as the highest in Europe, enlarging a population estimated at just over two millions in the early 1970s.
With their emphasis on co-operation and massed displays, the sports of the spartakiad are popular in socialist countries, underlining as they do the tasks of pulling together and subordinating individual effort to the greater scheme.
Some of the movements were described as thematic exercises, forming various figures and patterns. The multitude of banners in the stadium were reminders that sport is given much more significance than the m??? business of keeping fit. The state is another body that is expected to benefit.