"Our children have the right to happiness": President of the Ukrainian Federation of Student Sports shares his expectations from the European Martial Arts Games for Students
On May 29, the first European Open School Combat Games started in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The competition will last until 3 June and will be attended by about two and a half thousand students aged 7 to 18.
Roman Greba, President of the Ukrainian Federation of School Sports, spoke about his expectations for the competition. He said it was a great blessing that the Federation has the opportunity to send children to international competitions during the war.
"The team consists of 246 boys and girls. And they have the same right as children from all over the world - the right to happiness. They can get to know each other, show their best qualities and abilities, and prove themselves. The most important thing for an athlete is to compete and win. And now we will have this opportunity," said Greba.
He stressed that the most important thing is not victories, but the development of children, and that Ukrainian young athletes are our ambassadors.
"Victories are important for student sports, but they are not the most important thing. The most important thing is for children to be as developed as possible. In school sports, when children go to competitions, it's about development, learning something new, the opportunity to explore a new country, learn a new culture, see the world. In addition, when they go abroad, they become our ambassadors. When they come back home, they tell us how multifaceted the world is, how many interesting things there are, and that you can live, compete, and win. And all this without war," says Roman Greba.
The President of the Ukrainian Federation of Student Sports also shared his forecast for the outcome of the competition:
"My prediction is that we will be the first or the best! The main thing is that the children will be able to remember life without war, without threats, without rocket attacks and without the horrors they are experiencing now."
Roman Hreba also spoke about how the Federation won the right of Ukrainian children to compete without an enemy, having succeeded in banning Russia and Belarus from international competitions.
"The issue of participation of Russian and Belarusian citizens was extremely acute. After the war was unleashed, they cannot be part of a civilised society. They shouldn't be on the same platform as other athletes. Russia is an invader, an aggressor. It is very beneficial for them to separate sport, culture and the aggressive war they have waged against Ukraine, which professes democratic values, but sport cannot be "out of politics" in this situation. In early March 2022, a global decision was made to ban these athletes from all international events organised by the ISF and ESSF, including the European Combat Games. enemy, and did not give the enemy the opportunity to whitewash their bloodstained reputation through sport."