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The Ukrainian Paralympic Team arrived in Beijing for the Paralympic Games just ahead of the start of the event.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a reverberating effect on the sports world, and the Paralympic Games were no different. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Games.
Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President Valeriy Sushkevych told reporters Thursday it took more than four days for the team to get to Beijing.
“It’s a miracle that we’re here. … A part of our team was already abroad. A part of our team was in Ukraine. All the necessary equipment was in Ukraine. … We had to unite all those parts,” he said, via Reuters.
“It is 25 years I am president of the national paralympic committee of the Ukraine. And never was it so difficult, so heavy to come to the Paralympic Games.”
Sushkevych added it may not be so easy going back home – especially if the fighting continues and escalates.
“… Going back home is not simple. I hope the international community takes a real step during the Paralympics to stop this war,” he said.
Ukraine won 22 medals in the 2018 Paralympics. The team got four gold medals in biathlon and three gold medals in cross-country skiing. The team had 25 total medals in 2014.