Ukraine Preps for Invictus Games 2020
Ukraine's national team continues to prepare for the Invictus Games – an international competition for wounded military personnel and war veterans
In Kyiv, Ukrainian war veteran athletes recently gave the public a chance to see them train in preparation for Ukraine’s third Invictus Games.
War Veteran Yulia Paievska, callsign ‘Tyra’ practiced her skills with a bow and arrow. She will compete in archery, swimming, and powerlifting in the 2020 Invictus Games, which will be in May. There she will join other injured veterans from around the world, as they demonstrate not only their athletic skills but also their unconquerable spirits.
“I think our bodies have a limit, but our spirits do not,” Paievska said.
The Ukrainian Invictus Games team consists of 20 athletes. Veterans from all walks of life, and from all across the country.
The team members not only train their bodies but their minds and spirits as well. They take part in various therapeutic sessions and are actively learning English.
“The main value of the Invictus Games is that special community of veterans that is there and we want our veterans to be able to communicate with other veterans and active-duty soldiers about their experiences and share how they get over their traumas and their injuries – where they get their support and what helps them rehabilitate,” team operation leader for the Ukrainian team, Ilona Voloshyna said.
The Invictus Games use sports to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.
Many of those who come back from the front, in eastern Ukraine, have struggled to return to civilian life.
One Invictus Games athlete, Maria Nazarova lived through this struggle herself. She said she now works to support veterans around her. She believes that sports have an amazing power to heal.
“He was one of my patients and I remember him at the hospital. And we didn’t think he’d make it back to normal life at all. But he took part in Invictus Games and he won himself a girlfriend, he found a job, and now he’s inspiring those around him,” she said.
The word ‘invictus’ means ‘unconquered.’ It embodies the fighting spirit of Ukraine’s wounded, injured, and sick military personnel. It is a model of hope for life after war.
“This will be our source for the next 20, 30, maybe 40 years to change Ukraine,” Nazarova said.