President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena took part in the ceremony of sending off the national team for the XVI Summer Paralympic Games.
"First of all, I think we need to apologize to you on behalf of our state, the institution of the President, for the fact that no President was personally present at sending off our Paralympians to both Summer and Winter Games in all these years. I think it's a shame, but we'll fix it. It is an honor for me and my wife to be here. You are the pride and glory of our sport, our country, our will and spirit. And each of you is an example of unbroken spirit and unlimited possibilities," the President said during his speech.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the Ukrainian Paralympic team had won 374 medals at the Summer and Winter Games over the years, and expressed confidence that there would be more than 400 medals after the Paralympics in Tokyo.
The President also noted the symbolic date of the beginning of the XVI Summer Paralympic Games - August 24, the day of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence.
"Regardless of the result, I believe that all of you are already champions, already winners. And all these 30 years you have been one of those who nurtures our independence and inspires our country to never give up. So I am very grateful to you, just like every Ukrainian. And I believe that you will confirm this again in the next two weeks in Japan," he said.
The President stressed that the Ukrainian authorities - the government, local authorities and relevant agencies - should resolve as soon as possible the issue of a professional summer base for Ukrainian Paralympians, which "should never have any problems with funding."
"It is our duty to show respect for everything you do for our country. Once again, I sincerely wish you success in Tokyo! Inspire! Win! We will sincerely support you and we will wait for you!” added Volodymyr Zelenskyy.