As Russia continues to attack Ukraine, the country’s athletes have secured the second-most medals at the 2022 Winter Paralympics.
The 2022 Winter Paralympics wrapped up on Sunday, with Ukraine winning an impressive 29 medals in just two events entered – biathlon and cross-country skiing. Athletes won 11 gold, 10 silver and eight bronze medals, marking this year as the country’s best-ever performance.
Cross-country skier and biathlete Dmytro Suiarko admitted to struggling with the competition as Russian invaders shelled his homeland. “I missed twice because yesterday my house where I live, it was bombed and destroyed,” the 25-year-old told NBC. Despite his self-declared blunder, Suiarko won one gold and one bronze for cross-country skiing and two bronzes in the biathlon.
The Ukrainian team were the last group to arrive in Beijing, having struggled with the “logistical challenges” posed by Russia’s invasion on February 24. Valerii Sushkevych, president of the Ukrainian Paralympic delegation, said it was a “miracle” they participated at all, as reported the Guardian.
On the importance of participating, Sushkevych said: “Not coming here would have been taking the easy option. Our presence at the Paralympics is a sign that Ukraine is and will remain a country.”
China came out on top, with 61 medals, including 18 golds, followed by Canada in third place with 25 medals and the US took fourth with 20 medals. The UK came in 14th, with six medals and one gold in total.
This comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued stark warnings to Russian invaders. In his nightly address, the 44-year-old world leader said: “I know that you want to survive. We hear your conversations in the intercepts, we hear what you really think about this senseless war.
“On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance. Chance to survive.”
He added that surrendering soldiers would be treated “the way people are supposed to be treated” and “in a way you were not treated in your army.”
By Kieran Calvin