IBU President Olle Dahlin and IBU Secretary General Max Cobb visited Ukraine this week to discuss with key officials the IBU’s ongoing support for the Ukrainian biathlon community and see firsthand the destructive impact the war has had on biathlon infrastructure and training in Ukraine.
The IBU leadership visited Bucha, where the construction prospect of a biathlon sports complex was discussed with the city mayor and then travelled to Kyiv for a meeting with a delegation of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee led by its President Vadym Guttsait, and the Biathlon Federation of Ukraine led by President Ivan Krulko.
During the meeting, the Ukrainian delegation emphasised that biathlon is a priority sport for the country and outlined their plans for biathlon development and the hope that Ukraine can host the Biathlon World Championships in the future. The delegates explained the projects that will be implemented to restore sports infrastructure which has been destroyed during the war including the biathlon training centre. They thanked the IBU and biathlon family for their ongoing support.
Following the meeting at the NOC, President Dahlin and Secretary General Cobb were hosted for a meeting in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine, where the First Vice Speaker Oleksandr Kornienkoexpressed gratitude for the IBU’sstrong position as well as the great support of Ukrainian athletes. After that, the IBU leadership travelled with the Ukrainian delegation to the city of Chernihiv to visit one of the biggest and most important biathlon training centres, which was completely destroyed during the war but is planned to be rebuilt in the near future.
Addressing the Governor of the Chernihiv region, Viacheslav Chaus, as well as the First Deputy Chairman of the Chernihiv Regional Council, retired biathlete Nina Lemesh, and local athletes and coaches, IBU President Dahlin said:
“We are here today to show our support and find ways to help now and for the future. We have just come from the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in Slovakia where the Ukrainian team captured almost three times as many medals as any other team, 11 in all, two of them gold medals! We can only imagine that the excellence they have achieved, in the face of such great adversity, is a symbol of hope, strength and pride for those enduring this terrible war in Ukraine.
“We look forward to a time when peace returns to Ukraine, and our sport returns to the snowy fields and mountains of this beautiful country. We stand ready to provide expertise and advice in the reconstruction and expansion of Biathlon venues in Ukraine and will do all we can to support. We look forward to celebrating the continued success of Ukrainian biathletes as a part of the Biathlon family this winter.”
Working with the Biathlon family, the IBU Executive Board has dedicated additional support for the training of Ukrainian biathletes. Many National Federations are also providing extra support at their training venues as well to ensure Ukrainian athletes are able to continue to train during these very difficult times.
Photos: IBU & Biathlon Federation of Ukraine