The Ukrainian relay team at the World Championship (© AFP / Getty Images)
The Ukrainian athletics team will gather in Slovakia this week for a final training camp before travelling to Hungary for the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, starting in less than three weeks (August 19).
World Athletics’ Ukraine Fund and the International Olympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund have combined to provide training camp accommodation for 40 athletes and officials in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, which will allow Ukraine’s top athletes to complete their final preparations for their most important competition of the year.
World Athletics has provided additional accommodation for three athletes and their families for an extended period in Bankska Bystrica, from 1 June to 30 September.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “We understand how important and inspirational Ukraine’s athletes are to their country at this terrible time and we want to give them every opportunity to compete and excel, despite the great hardship being visited on them and their communities by this horrific war. They have lost so much and the least we can do is help them to keep their athletics dreams alive. I am full of admiration for their fortitude and resilience and I am looking forward to welcoming the Ukrainian team to the National Athletics Centre in Budapest in the coming weeks.”
The general secretary of the Ukrainian Athletic Association Iolanta Khropach offered her “heartfelt thanks” for the “important financial assistance provided during this terrible war in our country”.
“Your unwavering belief in us has made a profound impact on the life of our team and the opportunities to prepare for world-class competitions,” she said. “Thanks to your support, we have been able to provide the best athletes of the Ukrainian team with the necessary conditions on the final stage of the preparation to the World Athletic Championships in Budapest to achieve their sports goals. We are happy to see your willingness to lend a helping hand in difficult times for us during the war.”
World Athletics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee funded a similar programme to help the Ukrainian team prepare for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 last year, where two athletes emerged as medallists. World indoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh won the silver medal in the women’s high jump and Andriy Protsenko won bronze in the men’s high jump.
The IOC contributed an additional US$20,000 to support the Ukrainian team at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali last year.
Through its Ukraine Fund, World Athletics distributed more than US$220,000 last year to support Ukrainian athletes preparing for the World Championships and the World Athletics U20 Championships in response to the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and is distributing a further US$190,000 this year to support Ukrainian athletes preparing for Budapest.
This fund was launched by World Athletics, the Member Meetings of Diamond League Association and the International Athletics Foundation in April 2022 with the purpose of assisting professional athletes, immediate family members and their support personnel affected by Russia’s invasion of their home country.
This is in addition to the Solidarity Fund of US$7.5 million established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February 2022 to support Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community.