Team Australia stands with Ukraine

The moving cries of ‘Slava Ukraini’ and ‘Heroiam Slava’ have echoed around Zuiderpark, the home of Invictus Games The Hague 2020, over the past week.

CAPTION: Australian Invictus Games 2020 competitors joined Team Ukraine personnel at Invictus Games Park in The Hague, Netherlands. Story by Tina Langridge. Photo by Sergeant Oliver Carter.

The stirring exclamations, which translate to ‘Glory to the Ukraine’ and ‘Glory to the Heroes’, have been taken up by competitors, family and friends from all participating nations, as well as visitors from all four corners of the globe, in a resounding show of solidarity for the brave competitors from this war-torn nation who have left the conflict for a week to attend this international, adaptive multi-sport competition.

Support and respect for the Ukrainian competitors at these games has been extremely high. The knowledge that several team members, including the Team Ukraine archery coach, were killed during front line action before the start of the games has highlighted the brutal realities of war and made the team’s attendance at this event all the more poignant.

Peter William Brown, who is representing Team Australia in athletics, indoor rowing, powerlifting and swimming, said Ukraine’s presence had given him lots to think about.

“It’s an absolute privilege and honour to be alongside and represent our country next to them,” William Brown said.

“Hearing their stories just brings home that right now we’re here 20 countries, 500 plus people enjoying these competitions while, only a few countries away, there’s a war going on.

“The fact they’ve sacrificed their family, their friends to come here to compete just puts everything much more into perspective. This is more than just a games for the Ukrainians. It’s a lot more than just winning medals. It’s a matter of life and death.”

The Ukrainian team’s emotions have been visible on many occasions, none more so than when they received a standing ovation and tribute from the Duke of Sussex at the game’s opening ceremony.

“You know, we stand with you. The world is united with you. And still you deserve more. And my hope is that these events, this event, creates the opportunity…of how we, as a global community, can better show up for you,” the Duke of Sussex said.

CAPTION: Australian Invictus Games 2020 competitors Leading Seaman Chris Reck, left, Flight Sergeant Nathan King, seated, and Peter William Brown talk with Team Ukraine personnel Rustam Rosul and Vasyl Stuzenko during the receiption at Invictus Games Park in The Hague. Photo by Sergeant Oliver Carter.

In recognition of the goodwill shown to the Ukranian competitors and their family and friends, Team Ukraine hosted a reception for the other participating nations this morning to express their gratitude.

The event included a few moments of silence to remember the team’s fallen brothers and sisters, as well as the presentation of a commemorative coin, made from Russian weapons, to representatives from the Invictus Games Organising Committee and Invictus Games Foundation.

Team manager, Oksana Horbach, confirmed the team’s hearts had been warmed by the welcome they had received from all at the Invictus Games.

“The warmth, the kindness, the attention and the respect we have received from Invictus Games nations has been unprecedented for us as a country which has come from a war zone, but for this community, this is a very natural thing to do. Thank you very much for all that you do for us.”

In acknowledgement of the games’ ethos of overcoming adversity, Ukraine also made a pledge at the reception affirming the country’s commitment to the Invictus spirit. To the applause of all attendees, the nation extended an invitation to participating Invictus countries to one day visit Ukraine, “a country of indestructible, unconquerable people”, when it hopes to one day host its own Invictus Games.

‘Slava Ukraini’.






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3 thoughts on “Team Australia stands with Ukraine

  • 05/05/2022 at 12:56 pm

    A sign of how ”close” we are allied with Ukraine, and how they are just like us!

    Today 5 May 2022 []
    Ukrainian Refugees desecrate Australian War Graves at Nijmegan Military Cemetery with Swastikas and Azov Battalion signs. Think about that for a moment. Diggers Graves. Nazi Cheerleaders!
    The P.R. bullshit spruiked at these Games and repeated here stands a very long way from the actions and thoughts of our new ‘Allies”.
    We’re creating another generation of maimed and damaged Invictus Competitors in Ukraine for the same P.R. machine that maimed the current lot in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc, etc, etc.

    Warm fuzzy feelings and teddy bears leave zero room for critical thought.


  • 25/04/2022 at 11:47 am

    EDIT to my Above post.

    “”””My A.D.F wears the shame and scars of too many ”Wars for Democracy” already.”””””

    Could you please correct my spelling from ”scares” to ”scars”.

    Thank you for posting my comment.

  • 25/04/2022 at 9:51 am

    It’s unfortunate and bloody heart breaking to see Politics front and centre at a sporting event.
    Especially at an Invictus Games, where the broken and maimed bodies of it’s survivors and victims are celebrated.

    Soldiers of all people, should know Nationalism and Politics are the reasons they and theirs have suffered and lost.
    These people are condemning more generations to death, injury and madness with their thoughtless and jingoistic cheer leading for another US sponsored (You’re either with us or against us) War.

    My A.D.F wears the shame and scars of too many ”Wars for Democracy” already.
    Perhaps it should now be called the Australian (U.S. Foreign Policy) DefenSe Force ?


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