Ukrainian diver Stanislav Oliverchyk proudly bears the name of his grandfather, who died in Mariupol. Russian troops turned what was then a Ukrainian port city into a battleground when they captured it. The well-known swimming training center in Miropol was another casualty of the months-long Russian blockade.
Oliverchik planned to use the renovated sports complex as a training center for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but the Mariupol center was destroyed by Russian bombing.
So it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why Oliverchyk fears that he and other Ukrainian athletes affected by the war and the Russian invasion of their country will have to bottle up their anger and compete against their Russian counterparts and their ally Belarus. One year at the Olympics.
Does Russia have the right to participate?
The International Olympic Committee faces anger from Ukraine and criticism from other countries if it allows Russians and Belarusians to return to international sports and the Paris Olympics.
The IOC says its mission is to promote unity and peace, especially when conflict erupts. He also supports the views of UN human rights experts on a non-discriminatory basis, arguing that athletes from Russia and Belarus should not be barred from participating solely on the basis of their nationality.
For Ukrainian athletes focused on the Paris Olympics, the prospect of competing against Russians and Belarusians is so daunting that some say they wouldn’t go if it happened.
Sisters Marina and Vladislava Alekseev, who won Olympic bronze in the team swimming event at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, are among those who have said they will boycott Paris.
Tough training conditions.
In addition, the conditions in which Ukrainians train are very difficult. Russian strikes have destroyed training centres, air strikes have disrupted training sessions and many athletes have lost family and friends or are exhausted thinking of loved ones and family.
The horrors of conflict also affect your mental well-being. “Every day we read the news: explosion, explosion, siren. We are very worried because we fear for our loved ones,” said a Ukrainian sportswoman.
The invasion of Russia also closed the country’s airspace and traveling to international competitions became a grueling journey, with athletes often having to take long train journeys to neighboring Poland, where they could continue by plane.
With a passion for storytelling and reporting, I am an experienced writer and Editor with a focus on sports. As an Author at News Unrolled, I write engaging stories on the latest developments in the world of sports. My articles have been featured on numerous global media outlets and my work has been highly praised by renowned editors.