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Ukraine to be represented at 2024 Olympics by smallest number of athletes in history

by Kateryna Hodunova July 9, 2024 7:17 PM 2 min read
Olga Kharlan of Ukraine during Fencing Women's Sabre Individual at day eight of the European Games 2023 at Tauron Arena on June 27, 2023 in Krakow, Poland. (Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
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Only 140 Ukrainian athletes will compete at the Olympic Games in Paris this year, the smallest number in the history of the country's participation in the games, as Russia's war has damaged or destroyed sports' facilities and frequent air raid alerts interrupt training.

At the last Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, 155 athletes qualified, which was the smallest number of Ukrainian representatives at the Olympics until 2024.

The full-scale invasion has significantly affected the preparation of Ukrainian athletes for the competition in Paris, the National Olympic Committee's (NOC) president Vadym Gutzeit, said on July 9 at a press conference in Kyiv.

"It is impossible to train when air raids are constantly sounding," he said.

Preparation for the Olympics was also hampered by the fact that Olympic team members were abroad at the beginning of the full-scale war, Gutzeit said.

"Later, our athletes started returning to Ukraine. They have been training in Kyiv and the western regions. Some of them are still preparing abroad because conditions in Ukraine are no longer suitable."

"Thankfully to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, our athletes train. If the Ukrainian Armed Forces had not protected us from the very first days (of the war) and had not been protecting us now, we would not have had any preparation at all," he also said.

Over 500 Ukrainian sports facilities have been damaged or destroyed since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. Some of the facilities are located in the Russian-held territories, according to the NOC's president.

Ukraine will be represented in 23 sports in Paris. Ukrainian athletes will compete in football, breakdancing, and sport climbing for the first time at the Olympics.

The majority of Ukrainian athletes, 25 of them, will compete in track and field, while one Ukrainian athlete entered in badminton and weightlifting competitions each.

The 2024 Summer Olympics will occur from July 26 to Aug. 11.

At the previous Summer Olympics, Ukraine racked up 19 medals in total in 2021. Ukrainian athletes won one gold, six silver, and 12 bronze medals in Tokyo.

Ukraine calls for ban on Russian athletes at Olympics due to evidence of non-neutrality
Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) and Sports Ministry called on July 5 for Russian athletes to be barred from participating in the upcoming Olympics in Paris due to evidence of their support for the Russian military, violating neutrality rules.

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