Stronger than adversities: meet team Ukraine
The gold medal won by Dmytro Pidruchnyi at the IBU World Championships of Ostersund was just last of a long series of successes of the Ukrainian team. Despite a strong history in the sport, Ukraine has never hosted a world class event and their training facilities are not comparable to the ones of central Europe. Yet, the passion for biathlon made it the number one winter sport in the country and strong performances can always be expected from the Ukrainian squad.
“I know that in Ukraine we don’t have good conditions for competitions, like in Europe, but in the future, we will have them,”
said Olympic gold medallist Valj Semerenko who hopes to see her country’s facilities improving and hosting big events in the future.
Andriy Deryzemlya, first ever male biathlete from Ukraine to win a medal at the IBU World Championships, coincidencially in Antholz, where the next edition is due, thinks that the reason behind the success of his nation lies in the passion for the sport and the good level of coaches at all levels.
“We have a lot of athletes and good coaches, who take them to a high level, despite the training conditions. They are motivated and focused on achieving great goals,” he explained.
The great atmosphere within the team is also key for their success and after a long stretch when the women carried the team to the best results, now the men are catching up.
“We were always looking up to the women and were proud of their results,” explained Pidruchnyi. “That also motivated us to have similar results and reach their level, to make our country proud of us.”