The bronze medalists of the recent world championship Oleg KUKHARIK, Dmytro DANYLENKO, Ihor TRUNOV and Ivan SEMYKIN held a large-scale action during these competitions against the admission of athletes from russia and belarus to international competitions (photo: Duisburg. Representatives of the rowing community of Ukraine with President International Canoe Federation Thomas KONIETZKO during the action).
ABOUT THE WAR - TO THE WHOLE WORLD
Thanks to their remarkable achievements on the global stage, top Ukrainian athletes have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness about the ongoing war in Ukraine, where innocent lives continue to be lost.
Kayakers Oleg Kukharik, Dmytro Danylenko, Ihor Trunov, and Ivan Semykin have emerged as powerful advocates for peace, consistently reminding the world of the crisis, particularly during international events such as the World Cup.
SHOW ACTION IN DUISBURG
Their resolute commitment to the cause was evident at the World Canoeing Championships in Duisburg, Germany, where they clinched a bronze medal and secured a coveted spot in the 2024 Olympic Games. However, their mission extended far beyond the sporting arena. They orchestrated a peaceful protest against the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in international competitions.
SYMBOLIC GESTURES FOR PEACE
In a poignant display of their dedication to the cause, these athletes erected a substantial informational banner, distributed leaflets among over 1,000 athletes representing 91 countries, and presented a symbolic "quasi-medal" to Thomas Konietzko, President of the International Canoe Federation (ICF). This medal, carved from the armor of a destroyed Russian tank, bore the inscription "PARIS 2024" and the serial number of the occupying forces' equipment. It left an indelible mark on President Konietzko, evident from his expression.
EDUCATING THE WORLD
The leaflets and banners carried vital information about the "Sports Angels" – Ukrainian athletes who made the ultimate sacrifice defending their homeland, the widespread destruction of sports infrastructure in Ukraine, and the support of Russian athletes for the war in Ukraine
A PLEA FOR UNITY
While their efforts were commendable, the involvement of the Canoe Federation of Ukraine would have amplified the impact. Nevertheless, these athletes conveyed a heartfelt message, showcasing the extent of damage inflicted by Russia on Ukraine and the daily toll of war crimes.
PRESENTING EVIDENCE FOR PEACE
These athletes carried with them a substantial body of evidence, revealing only the tip of the iceberg regarding the atrocities unfolding in Ukraine.
REACTION TO THE PROTEST ACTION
Thomas Konietzko assured Ukrainian athletes of his unwavering support for Ukraine and its people. Leaders from prominent canoeing brands, including Andre Santos of "NELO" and Arunas Tomkevicius of "Braca Sport," also expressed their support.
Leaders of world canoeing brands also expressed their support, in particular Andre SANTOS, a representative of the «NELO» company, and Arunas TOMKEVICIUS, who heads «Braca Sport», a company that manufactures modern oars.
Duisburg. Kayakers of the Ukrainian national team and head of "Braca Sport" - Arunas TOMKEVICHIUS (in the center)
HEARTFELT MESSAGES FROM UKRAINIAN ATHLETES
Oleg Kukharyk, a distinguished master of sports in canoeing and a world champion, emphasized their mission to convey the tremendous price and hardship endured by the Ukrainian people in their quest for peace and tranquility on their homeland.
Ivan Semykin, also a honored master of sports in canoeing and world champion, underlined the struggle as their "sports front" and condemned any attempts to admit athletes from Russia and Belarus to international competitions without a clear stance against the war.
Dmytro Danylenko, another honored master of sports in canoeing and world champion, called on the global community to take the dire situation in Ukraine seriously, with the war claiming the lives of Ukrainian citizens every day.
Ihor Trunov, a honored master of sports in canoeing and world champion, echoed the sentiments of unity, urging Thomas Konietzko to reconsider the decision to admit athletes from Russia and Belarus to international competitions under a neutral status until the war in Ukraine ceases.
A CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
Heorhiy Zantaraya, Head of the Athletes Commission of the NOC of Ukraine, emphasized the need to prevent representatives of "terrorist countries" from participating in competitions, which could potentially be exploited for propaganda and whitewashing the actions of aggressor nations.
RESTORING HOPE AND REBUILDING UKRAINE
Yurii Cheban, a two-time Olympic champion and the president of the Canoeing Federation of the Mykolaiv region, stressed the importance of restoring not only lost lives but also the lost potential in sports. He committed to using all available platforms to disseminate objective information to the world and to continue the fight for Ukraine's independence through peaceful means.
This courageous action, which unfolded during the World Rowing Championship in Duisburg, was made possible thanks to the unwavering support of individuals and organizations, including the head of the athlete commission of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, the president of the Sports Committee of Ukraine, charitable foundations such as "Gurkit" and "Olympic Circle," the "Shypshina Show" project, and the president of the Canoeing Federation of the Mykolaiv region, Yuriy Cheban.
From left to right: two-time Olympic champion Yuriy CHEBAN, head of the athlete commission of the NOC of Ukraine Heorhiy ZANTARAYA and Honored Master of Sports of Ukraine in canoeing Ivan SEMYKIN
The action, which took place in Duisburg during the World Rowing Championship, was made possible thanks to the support of the head of the athlete commission of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine Heorhiy ZANTARAYA, the president of the Sports Committee of Ukraine Illya SHEVLIAK, who is currently at the war, the "Gurkit" and "Olympic Circle" charitable foundations, the "Shypshina Show" project and the president of the Canoeing Federation of the Mykolaiv region Yuriy CHEBAN.