The Invictus Games are taking place for the third time; it is an international paralympic competition involving wounded servicemen and veterans. It was initiated by British Prince Harry of Wales. The Ukrainian national team participates in it for the first time, and the first award, won by 29-year-old officer Serhii Torchynskyi, is a bronze medal in shot put.
More than 550 wounded soldiers from 17 countries are taking part in the tournament which is going on in Canada. Torchynskyi serves in the Patrol Police of Lutsk. He applied to join the National Police during the first draft when competition was extremely strong and demands high. Torchynskyi comes from the village with a telling name Myrna (meaning “peaceful” in Ukrainian), located in Horokhiv raion, and holds a degree from Lutsk National Technical University. He joined the army (and it turned out that he volunteered for an undeclared war in Ukraine’s east as well) in the spring of 2014. The future policeman manned checkpoints in Donetsk Region, then took part in the fighting on Savur-Mohyla, during which he received an extremely grave injury when a shell fragment penetrated his neck. He lived with the fragment still inside him for six months, because no Ukrainian doctor could extract it. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers Natalka Shepel and Daria Barchuk, a clinic in Krakow (Poland) admitted him, and 75,000 hryvnias which his surgery cost were raised. Then he went through a recovery, returned to Ukraine and resolved to serve in the National Police to protect public peace. “Modest, hard-working, a patriot of his country, he is an example of an ordinary person who has succeeded on their own. We hope this is only the beginning, and Torchynskyi will keep doing well both in service and in sports,” said about him his superior, 1st Lieutenant Oleksandr Vovchenko.
At a qualifying stage of the Invictus Games which was held in Lviv, he became the winner in the shot put competition. The next stage was the All-Ukrainian Invictus Games which took place in Kyiv in April. The wounded soldiers who won in three regional qualifiers across the country competed there. Torchynskyi put a lot of effort into preparing for it, and the Patrol Police responded positively to his requests so there was more time to train. The policeman chose two categories for himself – shot put and powerlifting, and it was in these sports that he trained for almost six months. His personal best shot put was 12 meters 60 centimeters, although he surpassed it in Toronto, reaching the 13 meters 71 centimeters mark.
“I will consider it my greatest victory when at least one person who has suffered physical injuries will grow to believe in their strength again and will understand that nothing is impossible in this life,” Olha Buzuluk quoted officer Torchynskyi as saying.
After returning from Canada, there will be another joyful event in the policeman’s life, as he is going to get married.