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AP Photos: Ukraine's wounded soldiers get pumped up

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              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, Ukraine's army captain Serhiy Romanovsky, 26, with his right leg prosthesis, takes part in ...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, a girl congratulates a wheel-chaired former soldier in a sign of support,...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, a participant lifts weight as a judge watches, during the Games of Heroes CrossFit competit...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, Lt. Volodymyr Kovalsky, 33, wearing his legs prosthesis, lifts weight, du...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec.24, 2016, a servicemen Roman Lindov, 24, with his left wrist amputated takes part in the Games of Hero...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, a wheelchair participant performs power exercises as a judge watches, during the Games of H...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, unidentified participants pictured first and second left, wearing paratro...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec.24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, former servicemen perform strength exercises as judges watch, during the G...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec.24, 2016, Lt. Volodymyr Kovalsky, 33, wearing leg prosthesis, competes in the Games of Heroes CrossFit...

              In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, a former serviceman with both his legs amputated, walks, during the Games of Heroes CrossFi...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, Ukraine's army captain Serhiy Romanovsky, 26, with his right leg prosthesis, takes part in ...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, a girl congratulates a wheel-chaired former soldier in a sign of support,...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, a participant lifts weight as a judge watches, during the Games of Heroes CrossFit competit...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, Lt. Volodymyr Kovalsky, 33, wearing his legs prosthesis, lifts weight, du...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec.24, 2016, a servicemen Roman Lindov, 24, with his left wrist amputated takes part in the Games of Hero...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, a wheelchair participant performs power exercises as a judge watches, during the Games of H...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, unidentified participants pictured first and second left, wearing paratro...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec.24, 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine, former servicemen perform strength exercises as judges watch, during the G...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec.24, 2016, Lt. Volodymyr Kovalsky, 33, wearing leg prosthesis, competes in the Games of Heroes CrossFit...

In this photo taken Saturday Dec. 24, 2016, a former serviceman with both his legs amputated, walks, during the Games of Heroes CrossFi...

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Half a year after losing his legs in the war against separatists in Ukraine's east, Lt. Volodymyr Kovalsky showed the strength of his body and spirit in a sports competition for disabled servicemen.

Breathing heavily and soaked in perspiration after the competition's final round of weightlifting, Kovalsky said his infant daughter brought him the will to carry on; she was born a month and a half after he was wounded in March.

"I said to myself, 'I have to live to bring her up,'" the 33-year-old said at the Games of Heroes event in the Ukrainian capital's Palace of Sports.

He was one of about 50 wounded soldiers and veterans participating in the games, which included weightlifting, rope climbing and rowing machines. Some of the participants were in wheelchairs, others walking with prostheses.

About 2,000 spectators cheered them on.

The event was inspired by the Invictus Games project launched by Britain's Prince Harry that has spread internationally.

The organizer, Kiev-based TV producer Eugene Koval, said he had learned about the Invictus Games "and I said to myself: we should help the soldiers, why not do the same stuff here in Ukraine?"

Participants said their aim is to show other wounded servicemen that life should go on even when catastrophe strikes.

"When I was in the hospital, dozens of people who I didn't know at all came to me every day with gifts and words of support and called on me not to give up," said paratrooper captain Serhiy Romanovsky, 26, who lost his right leg in fighting two years ago.

Wladimir Klitschko, Ukraine's former world heavyweight boxing champion, bought Romanovsky a 20,000-euro ($21,000) prosthesis, and Romanovsky is currently training for the Paralympic Games. He still is on active duty, based in Lviv.

Romanovsky said there are close to 1,000 servicemen in Ukraine who have lost limbs in combat operations in the war that began in April 2014.


Updated : 2021-07-26 06:29 GMT+08:00