In the first in a series of articles about sports clubs in Luxembourg, Chronicle.lu had the opportunity to speak with Nirav Haria, Treasurer for the Blacksmiths / Black Lynx Club and head of Commercials and Communication for the national Luxembourg Lacrosse Federation, about the Blacksmiths and Black Lynx Luxembourg Lacrosse clubs.
The focus of this series is on sports which are less often covered in the news, yet have strong links with the international community in the Grand Duchy. Some are already well-established; others are relatively new.
Chronicle.lu: Why and when was your sports club established?
Nirav Haria: The club was founded in 2016, in the kitchen of the current President Pit Bingen. It all started when a few friends, who had already accumulated a bit of lacrosse experience abroad, got together through Facebook and decided to meet once a week so they could practise the sport together in the park. After using social media to attract new players, it was on 4 December 2016 that they decided to officially establish the Luxembourg Lacrosse Federation. This decision helped Luxembourg Lacrosse to finally establish itself in the Luxembourg sports scene, providing players with fixed training times and playing fields. This led to the first friendly games, tournaments and participation in the Belgian League under the club names Black Lynx, the women's team, and Blacksmiths, the men's team.
Chronicle.lu: What are some of the links your club has with the international community in Luxembourg?
Nirav Haria: The club is a member of the European Lacrosse Federation and World Lacrosse Federation and participated in the World Championships 2018 in Netanya, Israel and national team tournaments in Prague, Czech Republic (2019) and Wroclaw, Poland (2021). The club's men's team finished leaders of their division in the 2021-22 season of the Belgian League. With the current boost of lacrosse featuring in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the men's national team is now preparing with coach Henning Schmidt to compete in EuroLax Men's Sixes [Cup] 2024 in Faro, Portugal under the new Olympic format of six versus six players.
Chronicle.lu: What activities does your club offer and who is your main target audience or age group? Do you offer different levels for beginners and experienced athletes?
Nirav Haria: The club offers lacrosse for all levels and age groups from toddlers (aged three years old and older) to youth (under sixteen years old) to adults (sixteen and older) on a weekly basis. From time to time, the club also offers special introductory courses under the "LacrosseFit" banner.
Chronicle.lu: What are your club's main goals and objectives, both in terms of sports and community involvement?
Nirav Haria: The club's main objective is to grow lacrosse in Luxembourg and around the Greater Region. With this, the club also aims to provide a social and fun fitness setting for the local and international communities who chose Luxembourg as their home. The club is also introducing lacrosse in schools with the sport already being practised at Lycée Guillaume Kroll in Esch-sur-Alzette, Lycée Robert-Schuman, Lycée Téchnique du Centre Kirchberg (LTC), Lycée Mathias Adam in Pétange, Lycée Aline Mayrisch and Lycée Michel Rodange in Luxembourg-Hollerich, Lycée Bel-val and Aatert Lycée in Redange. It will be offered in more schools soon, in addition to participating at BeActive, Nuit du Sport initiatives of the Ville de Luxembourg led by Youth Coordinator David Milosavljevic.
Chronicle.lu: How has this sport grown in Luxembourg over the years?
Nirav Haria: Within just eight months of forming the club, Luxembourg put together the national team and took part in the World Championships in 2018 at Netanya, Israel. After the World Cup, the decision was made to take the next big step and [...] participate in the Belgian league. In the following years, the first victories in the Belgian league were celebrated. The club went on to win their division in the 2021-22 season. Also with the national team, after several training camps, the team competed in tournaments in Prague and Wroclaw. The club founded "Lacrosse Academy" to promote young talent. Lacrosse Academy was established in several schools as part of their physical education curriculum in the country. The club took the opportunity to start another programme, LacrosseFit. This programme was for new players who were looking to try a new sport. This attracted many new players, especially for the Black Lynx women's team.
Chronicle.lu: What are some of the benefits of playing this particular sport?
Nirav Haria: Lacrosse is widely known as the "fastest sport on two feet". The sport helps in raising physical and mental fitness levels, being a team player, making new friends and developing a social circle not just in Luxembourg but all around Europe because of its friendly community.
Chronicle.lu: What events, tournaments or competitions is your club ting in or hosting in the new year?
Nirav Haria: The men's national team will be participating in EuroLax Sixes in Faro, Portugal in February 2023. The club's men's and women's teams will also take part in the Berlin Open and the Klax Cup Kaiserslautern in July 2024.
Chronicle.lu: How can someone interested in joining your club become a member? Are there any membership fees or other requirements?
Nirav Haria, Treasurer for the Blacksmiths / Black Lynx Club and head of Commercials and Communication for the Luxembourg Lacrosse Federation