40 Ukrainian veterans will perform for the first time at the international multi-sport competition Warrior Games in the United States.
Warrior Games is an adaptive competition for servicemen and veterans who have been wounded, injured or ill in the line of duty. The US Department of Defense is organizing this event for the eighth year in a row. This year it will be held from September 12 to 22 in Orlando, Florida, USA.
The Warrior Games program includes 12 sports: archery, golf, athletics (running and throwing), cycling, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, powerlifting and sitting volleyball. Among the participants are teams from eight countries: USA, Ukraine, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Georgia.
Ukraine's participation in the Warrior Games was the result of successful negotiations with the participation of the Organizing Committee of the Invictus Games in Ukraine and the national team of Ukraine at the Invictus Games in The Hague, which have been held since 2019. The organizational team of Warrior Games in Ukraine includes the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine, the Center for Strategic Communications StratCom Ukraine, NGO Invictus Games Ukraine, the Strongman Federation of Ukraine, Charitable Foundation "Come Back Alive".
"Warrior Games is a unique international event of adaptive sports, which in 2013 inspired Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to create Invictus Games. Since 2017, Ukrainian defenders have been participating in the Invictus Games, and since 2021, Warrior Games starts being involved in international sports events available to Ukrainian soldiers," said Ihor Bezkaravainy, Deputy Minister for Veterans Affairs of Ukraine.
"Ukraine's inclusion in the Warrior Games will help expand the opportunities for sports rehabilitation of Ukrainian veterans and servicemen in 2021, which is especially important in a pandemic and mass postponement of events, including the Invictus Games in The Hague, in 2022. Unlike the Invictus Games, which take place every two years, the Warrior Games take place every year, thereby providing our organizational team even more opportunities to mobilize the veteran community around sports and the rehabilitation power of sports," said Oksana Gorbach, Invictus Games and Warrior Games Coordinator in Ukraine.
The selection of candidates for the Warrior Games will take place as part of the national competition, which is slated for mid-May 2021 in Kyiv. Registration for the qualifying competition will last from March 22 to April 30, 2021 - more information will be published on the official website of Warrior Games in Ukraine.
A selection commission will be set up to select members of the national team with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs of Ukraine, agencies of the security and defense sector, voluntary formations and public organizations. The selection process will be carried out according to a comprehensive evaluation system, which was developed by the Charitable Foundation "Come Back Alive" and will include various factors, including sports results, rehabilitation effect from participation in competitions, motivation and others.
The Ukrainian team will include representatives of the National Team of Ukraine for the Invictus Games, as well as veterans who will pass the national selection. Veterans and active servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, as well as volunteer formations that got wounded, injured or ill during or as a result of performing official duties in the combat zone of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) or during peacekeeping operations with the participation of Ukraine since 1991 will have the opportunity to join the national team of Ukraine and perform at Warrior Games 2021.