Ukraine wins 7 medals including 3 golds on first day of Winter Paralympics

Athletes from war-hit Ukraine have performed admirably well winning three gold medals, three silver and one bronze (total of seven) in the biathlon discipline event on the opening day of the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.

Speaking after his win Grygorii Vovchynskyi, a biathlete with upper limb deficiency spoke about the situation in Ukraine after  Russia invaded his home country. “I tried thinking about the competition, but today it’s difficult. (What’s) more important is life. It’s our people, our children. I can dedicate this race to Ukraine, for peace (for the) people in Ukraine,” he said interacting with the media after clinching gold in the men’s sprint standing at the National Biathlon Centre in Zhangjiakou, northern China.

Oksana Shyshkova another Ukrainian athlete who hails from Kharkiv which happens to be one of the worst-hit cities had similar words to say after winning the women’s sprint (vision impaired), “It is difficult to compete here when friends, relatives, family members are sitting in the basement in Ukraine and hearing the bombs. I hope the whole world can unite and have peace in Ukraine and in the world,” the 30-year-old told reporters.

Beijing Winter Paralympics: Day one completes without Russia and Belarus athletes

Just two days ago, the International Paralympic Committee barred athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in the 2022 Winter Paralympics. The ruling came less than 24 hours after the IPC initially announced that Russian and Belarusian competitors could participate as neutral athletes. 

“The war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes, many governments are having an influence on our cherished event. We were trying to protect the Games from war,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said adding that the decision to bar them came after delegations/teams decided to withdraw/boycott in case Russian and Belarusians were allowed to take part. “It was a very, very volatile environment in the (Athletes) Village. It was a very rapid escalation which we did not think was going to happen. We did not think that entire delegation, or even teams within delegations, will withdraw, will boycott, will not participate,” he added. 

(Image: AP)

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