In Ukraine, programs are being implemented that will create the necessary sports infrastructure and decent conditions for the training and preparation of Ukrainian athletes. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the festive events on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the National Olympic Committee, which took place at the Ukraine National Palace of Arts.
The head of state said that some Olympic champions who won medals and represented the Ukrainian national team were forced to leave their homeland due to the state's negligent attitude towards athletes.
"I really wanted to change this. I wanted Ukrainian athletes to always feel on the podium, and not only three minutes every four years. So that no one has the right to organize the hate campaigns against them on social networks. So that they feel respect," Zelenskyy said.
The President said that it is necessary to create adequate conditions for having future Ukrainian champions.
"Therefore, we have started to renovate and build the sports infrastructure. First of all, for children. This is very important, because love for sports should be nurtured since childhood," the head of state said.
According to Zelenskyy, Ukraine plans the reconstruction and construction of 18 sports boarding schools for children, as well as a sports boarding school for orphans, 100 children's and youth sports schools, school stadiums and swimming pools.
"We have started the Healthy Ukraine program. I am proud of this program. It provides for the construction of 2,000 parks for activities in Ukraine, 10,000 sports grounds, 19 ice arenas throughout the country, 100 stadiums and 25 sports "magnets," the President said.
In addition, the Healthy Ukraine program envisages the construction of multifunctional complexes in each region capable of hosting world-class competitions.
The head of state recalled that today, together with IOC President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, he opened an urban park in Kyiv. Similar sports grounds will be built in other cities of Ukraine.
"We have made the sport a strategic direction of the state," he said.
Zelenskyy also invited Bach, who is visiting Ukraine, to the stage, noting that he is the first Olympic champion among the IOC leaders.
"The new motto of the Olympic Games is "Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together." We believe that together we will achieve that our dream comes true. The big dream is the Olympic Games in Ukraine. And I really believe in it. I am sure that our great state deserves to host the Olympic Games," he said.
The President added that hosting the Olympic Games in Ukraine is not an easy task.
"But in moments like this, I always remember the words of weightlifters and my father, the master of sports in weightlifting. They say: it is always not easy to go and try to lift something. It is easy not to try and walk away. This is what the weightlifters said. Therefore, we will definitely try on the Olympic Games," the head of the state said.
The President also awarded Bach with the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, IV degree.
Zelenskyy congratulated the athletes, who were present, on the Day of Physical Culture and Sports and the 30th anniversary of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.
"Today, the whole Ukraine is celebrating, because it is difficult to find a corner in it, which wouldn't bring up a champion, medalist or participant in the Olympic Games," the President said and asked to pay tribute to all the Olympic champions who were born in our country.
In addition, the head of state, together with First Lady Olena Zelenska, visited the photo exhibition entitled "Sports Glory of Independent Ukraine."
The presidential couple and the head of the IOC took part in the presentation of the book Gold of Atlanta written by Olympic champion Lilia Podkopayeva. The book is dedicated to the victories of the Ukrainian national team at the 1996 Summer Olympics Games of the XXVI Olympiad hosted by the city of Atlanta. Podkopayeva presented copies of the book to Zelenskyy and Bach.