Olympics: Last shot at glory for Lithuania's Alekna

Lithuania's veteran discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna and basketball star Sarunas Jasikevicius will be aiming to bow out in style at the London Olympics after shining at the last three Games.

The two sportsmen are among the top names in the Baltic state's 63-member Olympic delegation unveiled on Friday.

Alekna, 40, who will carry the Lithuanian flag at the opening ceremony, is on top form, raising hopes that he will bring home another medal.

He won gold in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, then bronze in Beijing in 2008.

He sent a warning signal to opponents last month with a throw of over 70 metres.

"Alekna is a great man, he has achieved Lithuania's best results since independence. With good fortune, he may win a medal again," said Algirdas Raslanas, vice-president of Lithuania's National Olympic Committee.

Lithuania returned to the international sporting fold after breaking free from five decades of Soviet rule in 1990.

"We think Lithuania can fight for seven medals, and the basketball team is among them," Raslanas told AFP.

Basketball is the top sport in Lithuania, often being dubbed the second religion of this nation of three million, after Catholicism.

Lithuania have reached the basketball semi-finals of the last five Olympics, winning bronze in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996 and again in Sydney.

A recent poll showed that 44 percent of Lithuanians believed that the current team would add to that haul in London.

Point guard Jasikevicius, 36, has played in the last three Olympics and remains a pillar of the squad, making crucial shots in the qualification tournament in Venezuela earlier this month.

He has spent the bulk of his career at European clubs, apart from a 2005-2007 stint in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors.