Ukrainian War-Wounded Rebuild Lives with Sports

Invictus Games is an international sporting competition for injured soldiers. Wounded Ukrainian servicemen have been fighting to rebuild their lives by sport. The British prince Harry founded the event in 2014. Nazar Nozoviy is a former Ukrainian Army mechanic who had his legs amputated. Vitaliy Skaddan, a grenade launcher operator, has an artificial leg made of metal attached on what’s left of his left foot. The competition will take place in Duesseldorf, Germany between 9-16 September.

The athletes are in training far away from the front lines, in Lviv. Nozoviy claimed he had been able to swim half the length of an Olympic pool whereas he couldn’t even swim before. Veterans find that the training is “a new stage” and feel the event gives each wounded soldier the chance to believe in themselves and their abilities. Sergiy Maideniuk is a deputy commander who added, “Whatever their outcome, they are winners. They have overcome their illnesses, and their fears within themselves.”

Benjamin Nazarchuk is a former Navy soldier who was injured by two mines in Kherson, southern Ukraine, during a counteroffensive last fall. He has said that he will represent Ukraine for the next year or so. After their injuries, many servicemen found themselves again through sports. The athletes’ positive attitude motivates them “to move forward” and to “live life fully”.

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