Who is Grygorii Vovchynskyi? Ukrainian Biathlete Wins First Gold for His War-Torn Nation in Winter Paralympics, Beijing

Ukrainian biathlete wins first gold for his country in the Beijing Winter Paralympics amid war.

Ukrainian biathlete Grygorii Vovchynskyi has made his war-torn country proud by winning Ukraine's first gold in the Winter Paralympics in Beijing. Putting in an outstanding display , Vovchynskyi, 33, beat silver medal winner Germany's Marco Maier to bag the gold medal while Canada's Mark Arendz claimed the bronze medal in the men's Para biathlon sprint.

"It was difficult for me when the war began. I cried every day. I didn't understand what happened. What can I do? I can dedicate this race to Ukraine, for peace [for the] people in Ukraine. Please stop war, it's very important for our children," Vovchynskyi told BBC.

In 2014, Vovchynskyi, who won gold in the long distance event in Sochi, beat Maier by 45.8 seconds to win his event. "I was thinking before the race, I must try to do everything for Ukraine. I must think about war, about my country, about my people, about my president. I love Ukraine," the Ukrainian biathlete said.

Grygorii Vovchynskyi

"I love sport, but today I ran because I want life in Ukraine to move to the future," he added, according to reports.

Before the Games, Ukrainian Paralympic chief Valeriy Sushkevych, said his team's presence was a "symbol that Ukraine is alive" and that it was a "miracle" they made it to the competition in the Beijing Paralympics.

Ukraine was warmly welcomed into the Bird's Nest Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday, March 4, 2022 while the Russian Paralympic Committee and Belarus have been banned from competing in the prestigious international-level sporting events.

Who is Grygorii Vovchynskyi?

Grygorii Vovchynskyi is a Ukrainian biathlete, who was born on 1988. The classified LW8 paralympian competes in classification category standing. At the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada, Vovchynskyi competed in biathlon and cross-country skiing while in cross-country skiing he bagged silver in the men's relay, open with Iurii Kostiuk, Volodymyr Ivanov and Vitaliy Lukyanenko and bronze in the 10 km standing.

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