Former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky asserts that Ukraine values “each and every athlete we possess” because they may be the nation’s “brightest celebrity.”
In January 2022, the 37-year-old departed from tennis in time to enlist in the Ukrainian reserve army at the Australian Open. “Sportingly, Ukraine has been irreparably damaged for future generations,” the 37-year-old stated on sources. Additionally, Stakhovsky criticised the decision to permit Russian athletes to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games as neutrals.
competitors from Russia and Belarus, which is Russia’s primary ally, who have qualified for the upcoming Olympic Games will not be allowed to exhibit their respective national flags, insignia, or anthems. This restriction applies to all competitors.
This group includes competitors who were previously prohibited from competing as a result of the invasion that took place almost two years ago; however, teams from those two countries will not be present. The invasion took place approximately two years ago.
The number of Ukrainian athletes who had died while serving in the conflict was brought to the attention of Stakhovsky, who had defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013. Stakhovsky’s whereabouts in Ukraine was not known.
Since the onset of the Russian invasion in February 2022, the external community estimates that a minimum of 10,000 civilians, including over 560 children, have perished, as reported by the United Nations. “Ukraine’s return will be extremely difficult,” stated Stakhovsky. “Therefore, we value each and every athlete who competes, as we are cognizant that it could be the last time we see that celebrity shine.”
Although several prominent Ukrainian athletes have voiced their opposition to the conflict, Stakhovsky believes that a greater number of Russian athletes ought to condemn the invasion in public. In recent years, Russian tennis players Andrey Rublev and Daria Kasatkina have expressed their opposition to the conflict.
Rublev, 26, inscribed an anti-war inscription onto a camera lens during the 2022 Dubai Tennis Championship. Similarly, Kasatkina, 26, advocated for a cessation of hostilities via a Russian video diary during the same year.
Stakhovsky expressed the belief that an entirely different scenario would have emerged if all Russian sports and individuals opposed to the conflict had demonstrated the same fervour as [Kasatkina].
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, stated in December that “individual athletes cannot be punished for the actions of their governments” while explaining the IOC’s decision regarding the 2020 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Allowing individuals to compete, according to Bach, is respecting human rights. Stakhovsky remarked that in his opinion, it is completely absurd. Russian sportsmen all claim to be terrified for their lives and the lives of their families, but the reality is that nobody lives in Russia anymore, mentioned Bach. He asserts that they are rolling it because they do not wish to lose their supporters in Russia or become a part of the criticism.
We must identify athletes who support this cause and provide the Olympic committee with supporting evidence; if deemed adequate, the committee may deny these athletes the chance to compete.