The veteran competition Invictus Games has ended in Canada. The Ukrainian team finished with 14 awards: 8 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze medals. In addition, it is noted that our team was one of the smallest with just 15 members. Ukraine took part in this competition for the first time as a participant in many military exercises, peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the UN, as well as a country whose troops have combat experience gained while carrying out missions in the framework of the military operation in the Donbas.
Throughout the competition, the following awards were won: a gold medal by Oleksandr Pysarenko, the captain of the indoor rowing team; four gold medals by Pavlo Budaievskyi in swimming events (50 meters free style, 50 meters on the back, 50 meters brass, and 100 meters free style); a gold medal by Oleh Zymnykov in the 1,500 meters track event; a gold medal by Roman Panchenko in archery among beginners; a gold medal by Vasyl Pashkevych in midweight powerlifting; a silver medal by the team of archers (Kateryna Mykhailova, Roman Panchenko, and Valerii Rak) who competed among beginners; a silver medal by Dmytro Sydoruk in archery among professionals; a silver medal by Oleksandr Tkachenko in the 400 meters track event; a bronze medal by Pavlo Mamontov in the indoor rowing event; a bronze medal by Vadym Svyrydenko in the indoor rowing event; a bronze medal by Serhii Torchynskyi in the shot put event. One cannot help but agree with the words of the Canadian Army Captain (Retired) Andre Sochaniwsky, President of the Ukrainian War Veterans Association, who was quoted on our team’s Facebook page as saying: “You set an example and instill pride in all of us. I want to thank you. Ukraine is independent due to your efforts. We express our sincere gratitude for the courage and steadfastness you have displayed in the defense of Ukraine.” Also, the team’s organizing committee noted on Facebook: “Before the Invictus Games started, we asked each member of the team why he was involved with the #InvictusGamesTeamUkraine, and almost everyone answered that, firstly, he wanted to prove to everyone that Ukrainian veterans were people of great strength and willpower, and secondly, to inspire wounded brothers-in-arms not to bow down before life’s adversities. So, it seems to us that both objectives have been met fully!”
Let us recall that the international paralympic-style competition Invictus Games was founded by the British Prince Harry of Wales in 2014. This year, social networks were truly abuzz with his photo beside Ukrainian servicemen who had a training session in sitting volleyball, and the picture even became the “cover” of the prince’s fan page on Facebook. As The Day has already noted, this meeting of two “galaxies” – the Ukrainian lads who are spiritual descendants of Volodymyr Monomakh and the representative of the House of Windsor – is particularly symbolic. It is a pity that this symbolism has been felt, it seems, by The Day alone, as other media have not picked up this parallel which was drawn by Larysa Ivshyna. Indeed, this is not just a tournament, but a meeting of people who are strong in spirit and stand for their native lands and their histories.