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Ukrainian athlete fighting Russian invasion to compete in Birmingham’s 2022 World Games

Stanislav Horuna is currently on the Ukrainian battlefield defending his nation against the Russian bombardment. This summer, he intends to be in the Yellowhammer State competing in The World Games 2022.

The 33-year-old athlete-turned-soldier serves as the captain of Ukraine’s national karate team. Horuna is the holder of a bronze medal he claimed during last summer’s Tokyo Olympics and a gold medal from The World Games 2017.

In a recent interview with Fakt, a Polish newspaper, Horuna outlined the duties he has been tasked with to combat the ongoing Russian invasion.

“We have two types of soldiers that we could break down into professionals and people who are half soldiers and half civilians,” said Horuna. “I am in the latter group. There are a lot of professionals and they control the situation in many places in our country. The task of this civil part is to maintain order and watch over what is going on in our territory. That’s what I do, because I wouldn’t be very useful in tactical military operations. Together with other athletes and soldiers, we try to patrol, help people and follow the orders that are assigned to us.”

Had Russian President Vladimir Putin opted against reigning terror upon the Eastern European country, Horuna would be training for the upcoming competitions.

“I would probably be in a training camp or teaching children,” the outlet quoted Horuna as saying. “I would definitely practice before the league in Portugal, then take part in the European Championships in Turkey, and in July I planned to go to the World Games in the United States. I have qualified so I have the opportunity to participate in this great competition.”

When the outlet asked Horuna if he would be able to make the trip to participate in Birmingham’s games, the athlete expressed optimism that he would be able to attend and said he hoped that life in Ukraine would soon return to normalcy.

“Yes, I do believe it. According to the forecasts of our Ministry of Defense, the fighting will take another month, maybe one and a half months. Later, we may be able to push the Russians to the borders,” he advised. “I hope that later life will return to normal in the cities and you will be able to go to a cafe or to the cinema.”

In a release announcing the report detailing Horuna’s bravery, The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers conveyed hope that all Ukrainian athletes would be able to take part in July’s games.

“To say our thoughts and prayers are with Stanislav Horuna and the people of Ukraine is an understatement,” said Sellers. “Our hope is this horrific war will soon end and we can welcome all the qualifying athletes from Ukraine to compete in Birmingham.”

Following the beginning of Putin’s onslaught, The World Games 2022 announced a ban on Russian athletes and officials from participating in the events.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL