"Murderers should not be allowed": Olympic medallist talks about Russians' admission to the 2024 Winter Olympics and training with air raid sirens in Dnipro
Famous Ukrainian athlete Anna Ryzhykova, who specialises in the 400 metres hurdles, spoke about the pressure exerted by our athletes to prevent representatives of Russia and Belarus from attending the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Because murderers should not be allowed to compete.
Also, in a commentary to OBOZREVATEL, the European champion and 2012 Olympic medallist in the 4x400 relay told us how people in her native Dnipro live under the occupiers' attacks and whether it is possible to train at home during the war.
"The upcoming Olympics in Paris is a very difficult issue for us in terms of the admission of Russians and Belarusians. For our part, we are trying to put as much pressure as possible - on social media, communicating with our colleagues in the sports, and we have very strong support from the president of world athletics. That's why Russians and Belarusians are not competing in athletics now. And I hope that this decision will remain in force in the future," said Anna.
Ryzhykova hopes that since athletics is one of the main sports in the Olympic programme and the largest in terms of the number of participants and sets of awards, other sports will follow suit and refuse to allow athletes from aggressor countries to participate in international competitions.
"Because they should not be allowed to compete with us, because these are both sporting and human principles. I know that civilised countries understand everything. We cannot allow the occupiers, those who go to war and kill people, kill our athletes who went to defend our homeland, to compete. I hope everyone understands this. But we still continue to convey this to our fellow athletes," Anna said.
The titled athlete is from Dnipro, which is under regular attack from the Russian occupiers. And for some time, it was incredibly difficult for her to live abroad but keep her thoughts at home.
"It was very difficult that year because I left my city about a month after the start of the full-scale war and was constantly abroad to be able to train and compete regularly. At the time, I didn't understand what was happening in Dnipro, I was constantly flipping through the news and calling home after every siren. I was very scared," Anna admitted.
"But now, like everyone else, I have adapted. I was at home - since this year I have been travelling to Dnipro all the time. Yes, it's hard to train there because when the alarm goes off, you have to stop training and go to the bomb shelter. But I'm proud of my city because all the people help each other, it's like a humanitarian headquarters," Ryzhykova said.
The runner said that all her friends and relatives are contributing to Ukraine's victory: "It's great that Ukrainians are so united. I'm really proud of these people because we have a lot of IDPs now. And I personally know that people are sharing everything they have, providing their homes, helping with clothes and food."
"Ukraine is holding on because everyone is very much united. Yes, it is difficult in Dnipro, but people live and continue to work. But, of course, I want the war to end as soon as possible and for everyone to return to their homes. We believe in the best," the athlete said.
Anna, who has participated in the European Games and Diamond League tournaments, is gradually gaining momentum, but is not yet satisfied with her form.
"Oh, I'm very rarely satisfied (smiles). I'm really getting into shape now. I had some difficulties, but with every start I feel much better, it's already about 80% me. And I will approach the World Championships in the best possible shape, because I am working for it. I have a strong team that helps me a lot. And my coach and I are confident that everything will be fine," Ryzhykova said.
"In fact, I have great support, everyone is doing everything to make me shine and show the best results at the main start of the season. And I do my best on my part and always give my best, even 110 per cent," the athlete added.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported how European Games champion Bekh-Romanchuk is helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces and whether the world is tired of war.