April 2, 2023

Russian war has killed 262 Ukrainian athletes – Sports minister 

Russian war has killed 262 Ukrainian athletes – Sports minister 

By Biodun Busari 

Ukraine’s sports minister, Vadym Huttsait has said 262 Ukrainian athletes have been killed while 363 sports facilities destroyed since Russia invaded and started war in the country. 

Huttsait revealed this in a meeting with the visiting president of the International Federation of Gymnastics, Morinari Watanabe, on Saturday. 

According to Reuters, Huttsait said no athletes from Russia should be allowed at the Olympics or other sports competitions while lamenting damages done by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. 

“They all support this war and attend events held in support of this war,” Huttsait said, according to a transcript on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s website.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended the gradual return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition as neutrals.

However, it has not decided on their participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics, but Ukraine said its athletes will not be released to participate in qualifying events for the 2024 Games if they have to compete against Russians. 

Reuters said while no global or continental has not verified the number of Ukraine’s sportsmen that have died, IOC criticised the decision of the war-torn country not to allow its athletes take part in Games against Russians. 

In the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Ukraine in February 2022, a number of Ukrainian national-level athletes have taken up arms voluntarily to defend their country.

Among those killed this year alone have been figure skater Dmytro Sharpar, who died in combat near Bakhmut, and Volodymyr Androshchuk, a 22-year-old decathlon champion and future Olympic hopeful.