Ukrainian teams of men and women swept the middle distance vision impaired and standing categories, respectively at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
The men’s team took the top five spots in the middle distance vision impaired race. Vitalii Lukianenko, Anatolii Kovalevskyi and Dmytro Suiarko made it to the podium. As a result, Lukianenko became the most successful male para biathlete of all time. The top three medals in the women’s middle distance standing were won by Iryna Bui, Oleksandra Kononova, and Liudmyla Liashenko.
According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Bui said: “We would like to dedicate our results and medals to each and every Ukrainian and all the soldiers in the Ukrainian army who protect us. With our performance, we represent the whole country, and this is our battle, here.”
Ukrainian-born Oksana Masters won the first gold medal for the Team USA in the women’s biathlon sitting sprint. Oksana was born in Ukraine with birth defects attributed to the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. After living in orphanages, she was adopted by an American single mother. She is donating portions of her prize money to No Child Forgotten, which supports Ukrainian children with disabilities.
The question of how to get everyone out of China when the Games end, remains. Valerii Sushkevych, the president of Ukraine’s Paralympic committee said they will likely move the whole Ukrainian delegation to an undetermined European country.