Ukrainian federation president Valery Sushkevich sees his team’s participation in the Paralympics in Beijing as a “miracle”.
“The easiest way for us would have been not to go to the Paralympics. But we couldn’t give up and we couldn’t come,” said the 67-year-old at a press conference by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC): “For us it’s a question of The principle of being here is a symbol that shows that Ukraine is alive.”
Many of the 20 athletes narrowly escaped the bombs when Russia invaded, and he himself slept on the floor of a bus for days. “A superpower wants to destroy my country. And our presence here at the Paralympic Games is not just a presence. It is a sign that Ukraine was, is and will remain a country,” Sushkevich continued.
The solidarity of other nations in the Paralympic villages is enormous. The team, which is particularly strong in the cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions, will also fight for their home country, which has been hit by the Russian war of aggression. “There are two fronts at the moment. One is in Ukraine for our soldiers. And one is here in Beijing,” said the head of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine.