President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a meeting with the Invictus Games national team. The athletes told the Head of State about the preparations for the Invictus Games in The Hague.
Oksana Koliada, head of the organizing committee for preparing the team to the Invictus Games 2020, said that this year the Invictus Games was designated as a sports rehabilitation event for veterans for the first time.
She noted that this year the competition was fully funded. This made it possible not only to select veterans for the national team, but also to find coaches who prepare the former military for major sports competition with teams from other countries in The Hague. In particular, the coaches include well-known Ukrainian athletes Vasyl Virastyuk and Serhiy Konyushok.
According to Oksana Koliada, the Invictus Games is an example of high-quality cooperation between the state and non-state sectors, because the organization StratCom UA represented at the meeting by director Oksana Horbach and the Foundation "Come Back Alive" represented by Deputy Chairman Iryna Turchak are working together with the Ministry for Veterans Affairs on preparation for the Invictus Games.
The participants of the event stressed that the main criterion of selection for this year's national team of the Invictus Games was not only sports training, but also motivation, as well as the effect of the competition on the rehabilitation of the veterans and their return to socially active life.
“We consider ourselves not a project of sports competition. We consider ourselves a project that gives an opportunity of social and sports rehabilitation, but, above all, social rehabilitation and integration. We see positive changes in the lives of our team members: many begin to work with their own communities, create veterans' circles, engage more actively in sports and create sections, as Maya Moskvych created her own archery sports section in Lutsk where veterans and children can take part. It was generally the first archery section in the city,” Oksana Horbach said.
She added that there are many such positive examples, and many of the veterans not only find professional realization, but also arrange their personal lives.
"That is why we consider the project to be more than just sports," Oksana Horbach said.
According to the attendees of the meeting, this year 350 veterans have been registered to participate in the selection for the Invictus Games national team, and the number of those wishing to participate is increasing every year. 20 athletes have been selected to compete in The Hague.
The selection was conducted in three cities: Odesa, Lviv and Kyiv. However, the project organizers suggested that the list of cities be expanded in the future.
The Head of State supported the initiative of the attendees to make the Invictus Games not only a stage of selection for international competition, but also a national competition for veterans.
In addition, the President of Ukraine spoke in favor of the construction of a national veteran hospital and a sports base.
“Money will be our problem, and you just tell us that there is a project,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
"We are ready if you show projects ... Two projects. Your job is to tell: here are these projects. So that we shake hands and everyone starts doing their own job,” the President stressed.
Під час спілкування також обговорювалося питання забезпечення можливості занять спортом у госпіталях, де ветерани проходять реабілітацію. Крім того, учасники цьогорічної збірної запропонували організувати мережу спортивних закладів для ветеранів, яка працювала б у кожному регіоні країни.
Particular attention was paid to the issue of ensuring the barrier-free and accessible premises of institutions, as well as transport for citizens on wheelchairs, including veterans.
The representatives of this year's Invictus Games national team invited Volodymyr Zelenskyy to visit their training camps.