“An ordinary soldier” for now; Ukrainian athlete plans to participate in the 2022 World Games

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Stanislav Horuna was captain of the Ukrainian national karate team and was preparing to compete at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham in July. Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Now Horuna patrols the streets of his hometown of Lviv as an “ordinary soldier”, but says he still plans to compete in the 2022 World Games.

“I qualified for these Games, so I have the opportunity to participate in this great competition,” Horuna told Polish newspaper Fakt, an interview picked up by the publication Around the Rings.

When asked if he would be able to compete, Horuna replied, “Yes, I believe so.”

The 33-year-old won the bronze medal in karate at the Tokyo Olympics last summer and the gold medal at the 2017 World Games, which took place in Wroclaw, Poland.

Earlier this month, the 2022 World Games banned athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from taking part in the international multi-sport competition which takes place in Birmingham from July 7-17.

Athlete, Ukrainian soldier Stanislav Horuna(Sevolle Xavier | The World Games)

“To say our thoughts and prayers are with Stanislav Horuna and the people of Ukraine is an understatement,” said 2022 World Games CEO Nick Sellers. “Our hope is that this horrible war will end soon and that we can welcome all qualified Ukrainian athletes to compete in Birmingham.”

Horuna posted scenes from Ukraine to his 96,000 followers on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamhoruna/.

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Charles T. McConnell