Ukraine celebrated the  country’s Day of Physical Culture and Sports  on 14 September. On that occasion and in an interview with The Times Kuwait, the Ambassador of Ukraine H.E. Dr. Oleksandr Balanutsa, spoke at length on Ukrainian sport and the country’s sport achievements, as well as the sporting events to be held in Kuwait during the ‘Week of Ukraine in Kuwait’ celebrations in January 2020.

“The spirit of sport has always been one of the major features of Ukrainian people,” said Ambassador Balanutsa at the start of the interview. “For centuries, life conditions dictated the need for good physical shape. For example, in order to become a Cossack, men had to face numerous challenges to prove their fitness. In the 21st century, living conditions are completely different, but sports is still considered to be an integral part of our national hobbies. Team spirit, the will to win, and mutual support, are key factors of success and main traits of Ukrainian character. Having a high respect for sport we annually celebrate the Day of Physical Culture and Sports on 14 September of each year,” said the ambassador.

“Ukrainians have been within the global Olympic movement since 1894. At the end of the 19th century we already knew many sports such as rugby, football, fencing, gymnastics and various types of wrestling. Then 28 years ago, along with the restoration of Ukraine’s independence, Ukrainian sport faced a great challenge: how to create its own national Olympic strategy to obtain new victories under the Ukrainian flag. The anthem of Ukraine was first played during the Olympic Games in 1992 in honor of victory of Ukrainian sportsmen.

“Our talented sportsmen glorify Ukraine far beyond its boundaries. Their fame is a result of their own exhausting work and efforts of their coaches who have made a lot to bring up medallists. Gennady Sartinskiy, Volodymyr Zolotarev, Oleksandr Teslenko, Igor Turchin, Volodymyr Sheptitskiy, Oleksandr Balanutsa, Oleh Yarovinskiy, Oleh and Olena Andriychuk, Nataliia Panteleeva, Iryna Klimenko, Oleh Sokolovskiy and other outstanding pedagogues share the victories along with their sportsmen.

“In 2000, Yana Klochkova became world famous after winning two gold medals at the Sydney Olympic Games and setting a world record. Sergey Bubka, Andrey Shevchenko, the Klitschko brothers, Alexander Usyk, Elina Svitolina, Olena Pidhrushna, Oleg Vernyaev, Oleksandr Simonenko, Alexey Sereda, Daria Bilodid, Ludmila Lyashenko, Taras Rad, Oksana Shushkova and other Ukrainian sports stars strengthen the positive image of Ukraine in the international arena. When Ukrainian athletes stand on pedestals of winners, when our flag rises and our anthem sounds, we feel pride for our country and receive a powerful charge of positive emotions and inspiration.”

Regarding projects that would enhance sports cooperation between Ukraine and Kuwait, the ambassador noted, “One of the major priorities of Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait is to establish fruitful cooperation with the Kuwaiti side in the continuation of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of physical education and sports between Ukraine and Kuwait.“We have already received official letters from five Ukrainian Federations (Volleyball, Handball, Badminton, Gymnastics and Boxing) concerning cooperation with Kuwaiti counterparts. Thus, the Embassy is currently working on a variety of sports projects which are supposed to be realized in January 2020 within the framework of the Week of Ukraine in Kuwait under the slogan ‘Business – Culture – Education – Sport – events that unite Ukraine and present it to the World’.

“Among the events we are planning to organize are: friendly matches and competitions, leadership courses for coaches and judges, sports events for children, presentations of Ukrainian sports schools, a charity marathon and much more. It’s worth emphasizing that sport is a bridge of friendship between Ukraine and Kuwait. We take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Kuwaiti side, especially Dr. Saqr Al-Mulla, Deputy Director-General of the Public Authority for Sports for supporting Ukrainian initiatives in the field of sports to enhance the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two friendly countries.”

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