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An Amazing Games

An Amazing Games

A haul of 14 medals – that’s the result delivered by the Ukrainian national team at the 2017 Invictus Games. The third iteration of the international adaptive multi-sport event in which wounded, injured, or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in various sports concluded at the end of last month in Toronto, Canada. It marked the first time former Ukrainian military servicemen participated in the competition. Founded by Prince Harry in 2014, the event gathered representatives from 17 countries this year. The Ukrainian team was among the smallest featuring 15 competitors.

Yuriy Dmytrenko was wounded in the spring of 2016 in Donbas and as a result lost his left leg. Since then, the 23-year-old has participated in several sport competitions in Ukraine and was preparing to compete at the Invictus Games in athletics, however he was finally listed as a reserve participant and travelled to Toronto to support the Ukrainian team.

“It was thrilling to watch Pavlo Budayevsky win four gold medals in swimming on the last day of the Games,” he says. “His previous results were very high so we all expected medals, but four golds – it was overwhelming. I also heavily supported Vadym Svyrydenko, who competed in athletics in my category, we spent so much time training together,” Dmytrenko says.

Despite having his left let amputated, Vadym was lucky to receive high quality rehabilitation in the US. At Invictus this year, he won a bronze medal in indoor rowing, and says there is a spirit of camaraderie despite the completion.

“All participants are wounded in some way so there is no chance anyone can be pitied. It was a place where acting or past military servants of NATO countries met, so there was no need to explain why this or that nation is fighting for its rights. I felt an atmosphere of mutual understanding and support.”

This month, Dmytrenko will take part in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon, a 10-kilometre marathon in in the US capital, Washington DC. To prepare he trains every day in a gym and runs a couple of kilometres wearing his sport prosthesis. “I must keep the balance between intense training and my health – sometimes I wake up and plan to work hard, but the leg might have its own ideas on the day.”

He says his prosthesis for running is of very good quality, which he received with assistance from the Canada-Ukraine International Assistance Fund, supporting the supply of prostheses to ATO veterans. He hopes to represent Ukraine at the next Invictus Games to be held next year in Sydney, Australia.



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