Ukrainian veterans triumph at Invictus Games 2017

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

UCMC offers to your attention an abridged translation of the Glavkom article devoted to the Ukrainian team’s success at the international competition for servicemen Invictus Games 2017.

On Saturday, September 30, the Invictus Games 2017 concluded in Toronto. Ukraine was among the 17 countries-participants. Our team won 14 medals in their first ever Invictus Games.

What is Invictus Games?

Invictus Games were introduced by Prince Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor of Wales, who is more commonly known as Prince Harry, in 2014. It was he who decided to show the strength and abilities of servicemen who suffered life-changing injuries in battles.

The event was inspired by the Warrior Games, a similar national event held in the United States. Prince Harry, with the support of the Queen of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States, took the responsibility to create a new international project.

Generally speaking, Invictus Games are the same Paralympic competitions with one specification: they can be attended only by athletes who obtained disabilities in battle.

Unfortunately, Ukraine is no comparison to the most powerful countries, where such servicemen are paid great attention and helped in every possible way so that they can live after all that happened to them. Therefore, participation in such competitions for servicemen is the main source of attracting attention to themselves and to their problems on an international level as well.

“According to the Main Directorate of Military Police of Ukrainian Armed Forces, nearly 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers have sustained wounds and injuries since the conflict broke out in the Donbas region. Rehabilitation of Ukrainian soldiers injured while fighting in the conflict zone is one of the most urgent social challenges deserving the closest attention on the part of government, media, and NGOs.

Social reintegration of service members with disabilities received in action is crucial for the public attitudes towards people with disabilities. These people have still been facing ignorance, prejudice, and fears that are restricting their opportunities for successful careers, studying and self-development. This also holds true with wounded, injured and sick military veterans. The Invictus Games aim to overcome stereotypes about disabled servicemen, replacing them with a sense of pride and respect for people who did not lose their zest for life despite terrible ordeals they had been through,” reads the website of the Ukrainian team at Invictus Games 2017.

About Invictus Games Toronto 2017

This year’s tournament, which took place from September 24 to 30, united more than 550 wounded veterans from 17 countries of the world. The athletes competed in 12 sporting disciplines.

The Ukrainian squad included 15 participants and the reserve team of 13 servicemen. They competed in seven sporting disciplines: running, powerlifting, swimming, archery, cycling, indoor rowing, and sitting volleyball.

The pride of Ukraine

Gold medals were awarded to Oleh Zimnikov, Vasyl Pashkevych, Oleksandr Pysarenko, Roman Panchenko, and Pavlo Budaievskyi (winner of 4 gold medals!), silver – to Oleksandr Tkachenko, Dmytro Sydoruk, and the archery team, and bronze medals – to Serhii Torchynskyy, Vadym Svyrydenko, and Pavlo Mamontov.

Serhii Torchynskyy, a 29-year-old police officer from Lutsk, became the first winner of the Invictus Games among the members of the Ukrainian team. He won a bronze medal in shot put having put the shot 13.71 m, surpassing his nearest contender by more than a meter. Serhii was just nine centimeters behind the silver medal.

Oleh Zimnikov, a 29-year-old serviceman of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, won the first Invictus Games golden medal in Ukraine’s history. It was after his performance in the 1500 m race that the victorious anthem of our country was first played at these competitions. Oleh could also win the second medal, but in the 400m race, he came fourth.

However, in the same race Oleksandr Tkachenko, a 29-year-old police officer from Chernihiv, climbed the second step of the pedestal.

Vasyl Pashkevych, a 28-year-old serviceman of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine became the second Ukrainian champion in the Invictus Games. He outdid all opponents in powerlifting (midweight). Although his weight is 85 kg, he managed to lift 175 kg.

The third gold medal for the Ukrainian team was won by 46-year-old Oleksandr Pysarenko. He outdid all rivals in the indoor rowing. The Ukrainian National Police officer’s result was 389 meters.

On the last day of the competition but one, 22-year-old Roman Panchenko won another gold medal for Ukraine, leaving behind all his rivals in the archery.

Pavlo Budaievskyi, a 28-year-old serviceman of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine became the true triumphant and hero of the Ukrainian team. In the finals (freestyle), he came first at 50-meter swim at 25.57 seconds. In less than an hour, he again went to the start and outdid his competitors in the backstroke making 50m in 30.81s. Finally, half an hour later, Pavlo outpaced his rivals in the freestyle swimming (100m in 57.51s), and in the breaststroke swimming (50m in 30.91 s). His closest rival lagged behind him by 3 seconds.

The second silver medal was won by 34-year-old veteran Dmytro Sydoruk. The world-class athlete in archery, the junior world champion, was just a step far from the gold medal at the Invictus Games 2017, but Dane Christian Ravnholt managed to outdo Dmytro.

The third silver medal was gained by our archery team consisting of Kateryna Mykhailova, Roman Panchenko, and Valerii Rak.

Ukrainians also won two more bronze medals in the indoor rowing on the fourth day of the tournament. First, 44-year-old veteran Vadym Svyrydenko shared the third place with the UK representative, and in a few hours, 25-year-old veteran Pavlo Mamontov shared the third place with the US representative. He rowed 316m in a minute, whereas the winner showed 343 m.

It should be noted that Serhii Molodid, Yurii Pysarchuk and Oleksandr Chub also took part in the Invictus Games. But they, unfortunately, did not manage to win any medals.