The first sports competition for veterans called "Strong Ukraine" took place in Poltava

The first sports competition for veterans called "Strong Ukraine" took place in Poltava
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The first sports competition for veterans called "Strong Ukraine" took place in Poltava Regions at war 03 Jul 2023 at 11:00

The first stage of the nationwide tour of competitions for veterans of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO), Joint Forces Operation (OOS), and the Russian-Ukrainian war called "Strong Ukraine" took place in Poltava on July 2nd.

The preparation for the competition lasted only two weeks, but it did not prevent over a hundred veterans from participating, not only from the Poltava region but also from neighboring regions. This was announced by Serhii Koniushok, the President of the Strongman Federation of Ukraine.

“Thanks to our caring partners and sponsors, we came to Poltava to organize a comprehensive inclusive event for veterans. Our participants are combat veterans, guys who are currently undergoing treatment and rehabilitation, and they have come from neighboring regions of Ukraine, such as Myrhorod, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv. We didn't even expect such a high registration result. But when one comrade invites another, we see that a good competitive struggle is shaping up today.”

The athlete explains that the main goal of these events is to introduce our defenders to adaptive sports, unite them so that they socialize, not isolate themselves, and see that the community of Ukrainian cities supports and thanks them.

Poltava became the first city where such competitions are held. Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Cherkasy, and Kryvyi Rih are next in line.

Veterans will compete individually in three disciplines: bench press repetitions (60 kg per minute), air bike (who can achieve 50 kilocalories faster), and rowing on a machine (maximum distance in 100 seconds). Participants will compete in different categories depending on the severity of their injuries and amputations.

As a master class, everyone interested will have the opportunity to try archery. However, it is planned that this discipline will soon be included in the competition program as an adaptive sport for veterans.
Following the competitions in different regions of Ukraine, national competitions will be held, where the Ukrainian national team will be formed, most likely representing our country at international competitions.

“The majority of the competition participants are amateurs and people who have not been involved in sports, and our main goal is to introduce them to adaptive sports. When a person enters the competitive field, feels that excitement and the power of support, then they will experience that invaluable joy and emotions, and they will have the desire. The main thing is to give them the opportunity to feel this joy of arrival and acquisition of these emotions within the veterans' community,” emphasized Serhii Koniushok.

Vasyl Virastiuk, the Honorary President of the Strongman Federation of Ukraine and a multiple world champion, became the referee of the competition.

“Our mission is to create good and friendly conditions for our veterans so that they feel our gratitude, not only as organizers but also from the people who come to support them,” said Vasyl Virastiuk, sharing the story of a veteran that impressed him the most.

He mentioned Vadym Svyrydenko, who is currently an advisor on veteran affairs to the President of Ukraine.
“He is a veteran with four amputations who made it to the Invictus Games team and participated in international tournaments and the World Veteran Championship. He overcame his distance, and the entire stadium greeted his finish while standing. Currently, he travels for work, inspecting rehabilitation centers and hospitals, as he himself has gone through this path. He was captured and had his limbs amputated. Later, he was liberated and underwent a long rehabilitation, prosthetics, and so on.”
One of the participants in the competition, Oleksandr Shvachka from Kyiv, suffered a severe injury and lost his leg in battles in eastern Ukraine. Despite his injury, he decided to try himself in sports and became an athlete.

“Such competitions are quite a significant event where veterans can rehabilitate themselves physically and psychologically. Physical rehabilitation is crucial for a veteran as it impacts their psychological well-being. It's really cool that we can gather such a number of veterans and participate in the competition.”
According to a Ukrainian defender, he used to engage in sports non-professionally before the war. Now it serves as a means of rehabilitation for him.
Andrii Melnyk, a resident of Kharkiv and a fighter of the National Guard of Ukraine, is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Poltava. Despite his injury, he decided to join the competition and participate in three disciplines.

“I went to war in April last year. I was already in combat on April 2nd. Right now, I'm in Poltava after the injury. They invited me to the competition because in the past, I was an athlete involved in CrossFit. I worked in a fitness club. I plan to lift the barbell weighing 60 kilograms at least 30 times. But after the injury, my back might give me some trouble. It's a challenge for an athlete. I got injured in the city of Bakhmut.”
In addition to the competitions, all participants and guests were treated to demonstration performances by strongmen, functional training sessions, attractions for children, a photo session with Vasil Virastiuk, and a delicious lunch. All participants received commemorative medals, certificates, and gifts from sponsors.


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