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HomeNewsUkrainian para biathletes leaving World Championships well decorated

Ukrainian para biathletes leaving World Championships well decorated

Team Ukraine ended the 2024 Para Biathlon World Championships with the most medals of any country – 8 gold, 7 silver, 5 bronze.

The country was also extremely well represented, 24 Ukrainian athletes competed in the games, followed by Germany with 10.

30-year-old Liudmyla Liashenko and 24-year-old Taras Rad were two of the Ukrainian competitors who both left the games well-decorated – Liashenko won three golds and a silver, Rad earned himself two golds and two silvers.W

The pair sat down with the media yesterday (Tuesday), accompanied by Oleksii (Alex) Miroshynk who served as a translator, to talk about their experience in Prince George.

One of the first things they noticed when arriving in Prince George was the strong presence of Ukrainian people and volunteers.

According to Share Hope, over 300 Ukrainians displaced by the war have been settled in Northern BC, many of them volunteered at the games or met the Ukrainian athletes at the airport.

“It makes a huge difference,” Liashenko said. “It was super unexpected when we were met in the airport, it was warm and hospitable, and not expected at all.”

“It is so great that there are Ukrainians in Canada,” Rad said, then turned to Miroshynk with a laugh and said “if you weren’t here, there would not be an opportunity to be interpreted right now!”

“Prince George is a great city, there are many ski trails, we tried several of them and they are perfect. It is a good place to train,” he said.

“I was here at the 2019 championship,” Liashenko added. “I like the city, I like the community, I like the trail.”

Liashenko is from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, which has been a heavy target of Russia’s since the war started.

Rad is from Ternopil in the western part of Ukraine.

“The war is going on right now and it is very hard, emotional for us because our friends and relatives are there,” Liashenko said. “Those cities are being shelled very, very hard. Kharkiv, even last night (Monday) was shelled several times by several rockets.”

“Between our competitions I come home and I have to train in such circumstances,” she said. “It is very hard for every athlete when you understand your wives, husbands, kids, families are under shelling and threat all the time.”

Liashenko added a training facility in the west of Ukraine that the countries top Olympic and Paralympic athletes use has also been used recently by military soldiers who were injured in the war.

Both Liashenko and Rad will try to add more to their medal collections this week at the Para Nordic World Cup Finals, which is also being held at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club in Prince George.

You can find out more about both events here.

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