Oksana Horbach, coordinator of Invictus games project in Ukraine, was welcome at the studio of The Journalist news agency. Oksana told our viewers and readers about preparation of national team for Invictus games on, whether Ukraine is ready to hold competitions of such level and what do we need for that/ She also unveiled what awaits for our veteran athletes in Australia in October this year.
At the end of June, Oksana Horbach attended managers meeting of participating nations in Invictus games this year in Sydney. Oksana shared her impressions with us:
«Invictus games it seems to me is the only international sports competition that have practice of managers gathering a few months before the event itself in order to become familiar with the locations. This is very useful, because we work with veterans and their families, everyone needs a personal approach. We were shown the place where the competitions will be held: this is an Olympic village in Sydney. Like other managers, it was impressed by its level of availability for athletes with functional limitations. This is extremely convenient when you have everything based on one territory: a track and field stadium, a swimming pool, and a playground for team and power sports. Participants will live in the same place. Difference from Invictus games 2017 in Canada is precisely that in Toronto all the competition locations were scattered around the city. Here the only place we will need to get to is the track for cycling competitions. It is located in a park in Sydney Harbor, very beautiful place. Our diaspora plans to make a Ukrainian camp there, where the entire Ukrainian community of Australia will be invited. On the day of the cycling competition, a regatta will be held. We will not participate, but we plan to watch. Opening ceremony will take place on the steps of Sydney Opera: it will be spectacular! For the participants of the competitions excursions, entertaining and cultural, educational events are planned. For their families and friends, a separate program is organized: tournaments, tours, competitions, for example, in golf».
As project coordinator, Oksana knows about all successes of team members and is aware of their future plans:
«Every team member is training even harder than it is expected from him and they all have opportunity to train outside training camps. We all see how serious and motivated they are and determined to represent at their best our country in Sydney. Coaching staff and the organizing committee are amazed by their motivation. For example, Oleksandr Zozulyak equipped a stationary bicycle at home because he doesn’t want to miss training if the weather is bad. In addition, they all participate in other sports and veteran events besides Invictus games and we support that wholeheartedly. We are happy that they perceived their roles as a member of national team not just as athletes who must show certain results, but also as part of a community that needs their attention and influence, and they gladly do it. Andrii Usach recently went to children's camp Kuznitsa Unizh, which, by the way, was created by last year's national team member Oleksandr Chub, where he was engaged in archery teaching of veterans children. Yurii Dmytrenko takes part in Games of Heroes. Serhiy Ilnitskyi organized golf for all participants of military operations and ATO veterans on territory of the Kyiv oblast. This allows us to say that Invictus games are not just sport and help for these fifteen in national team. Entire veteran community receives support and benefit from them as leaders».
Fifth Invictus games will be held in May 2020 in the Netherlands. Oksana Horbach shared plans for the «break period»:
«Development of system of sports rehabilitation remains our priority task in organizing these competitions and participating in Invictus games. System differs from event in a way that it should be based on legislative documents and processes that will provide support to veteran. At the moment, the legislative base has somewhat improved. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during the awarding ceremony of Invictus Games National Trials on May 12th signed a decree on sports rehabilitation. Our goal is that in 2019 those regional centers that are ready for this will have the opportunity and desire to carry out regional Invictus games in order to intensify work with local veterans and existing sports facilities and locations».
For more details about Invictus games project in Ukraine, see video version of the interview on the website of The Journalist:
Interviewed by Yaroslava Matvieienko