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FIG to Aid Ukraine's Trip to Europeans
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The International Gymnastics Federation will help fund the Ukrainian team's trip to the upcoming European championships in Sofia, the FIG confirmed to IG on Thursday. Pictured: Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine)

The International Gymnastics Federation will help fund the Ukrainian team's trip to the upcoming European championships in Sofia, the FIG confirmed to IG late Wednesday.

"The [Executive Committee] voted for a fund to help the Ukrainian gymnasts to participate in Sofia," FIG Press Officer Philippe Silacci told IG.

Earlier this week, the Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation announced it had failed to secure the 38,000 euros needed for the trip from the Ukraine's sports ministry. The federation, struggling in a nation embroiled in political crisis, appealed to the FIG for emergency assistance to help fund the delegation's trip to Sofia.

Igor Korobchinsky, vice president of the Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation, said Wednesday the FIG had promised to assist the federation with an interest-free loan to cover its costs and expenses. The 2014 Europeans, which begin Monday, serves as a qualifying competition for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and 2015 European Games.

Korobchinsky was among several gymnastics officials and coaches who gathered for a press conference Wednesday called "The Crisis in Ukrainian Sports." The team needs a long-term solution for funding its program, they said.

Women's coach Oksana Slyusarchuk described the national training center as in a terrible state of disrepair, with only one gym to accommodate the junior and senior national teams for both men and women.

Igor Radivilov, a bronze medalist on vault at the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 co-European champion on still rings, said the equipment is unsafe.

"It's easy to get injured on such apparatus, but then there's nowhere to be treated and, more importantly, nothing to be treated with," Radivilov said. "We don't even have enough chalk or a regular bandage. The first-aid kit is empty. The team doctor just shrugs because he wasn't given any medication."

The annual Stella Zakharova Cup, which had originally been moved from March to April because of the political crisis, was postponed until September. Zakharova said she had secured some of the funding but not all of it.

Although independent Ukraine has won more than a dozen Olympic medals in gymnastics since 1992, the Sports Ministry's annual funding for the sport amounts to approximately half a million dollars, officials said.

"It's crushing," said Korobchinsky, himself a world and Olympic champion. "It's nothing compared with what they have in gymnastics' leading powers - like the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. We don't have to go too far to see [better conditions] even in neighboring Poland and Romania. And we are still trying to compete with all of them!"

Comments (1)add comment

Huge Gymnastics Fan said:

I love the Ukrainian team!!
I'm British and I will always support Team GB first but I also like to see The Ukrainian gymnasts doing well. To see the way they perform with the lack of funding and poor facility says a lot about them. It's easier to do well when you have everything you need but to perform despite having so little is amazing.

They came third in the Europeans! Amazing! I was cheering for them! Oleg Verniaiev is beautiful to watch when he hits his routines. I will be following his career with great interest.

Well done Ukraine!!!

October 14, 2014
Votes: +0

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