Ukraine's paralympians have moved back up to 4th place in the medals table with impressive performances today which added 8 medals to their tally.

Long jumper Ruslan Katyshev led the field after his second jump which no-one was able to beat - giving him the gold. The achievement is even more remarkable because the visually impaired long jumpers require silence so that they can hear their trainer guiding them throughout the run-up and the jump itself. The bond between athlete and trainer is probably stronger than in many other paralympic sports. In an interview with BBC Ukrainian Katyshev dedicated the medal to his trainer, Tetyana Orlova and praised the London games for their organisation and huge support. In other track events, Oxana Boturchuk won silver in the 400m and Roman Pavlik the bronze in the men's 400m.

Ukraine's swimmers once again brought in a haul of medals - not letting a day go by without gold! Natalya Prologaeva added her third gold with a win in the 100m breaststroke and Maksym Veraksa collected a second gold in the 100m freestyle. Silver came to Danylo Chufarov in the 400m freestyle, while Ani Palian gained bronze in the 50m freestyle.

Ukraine's first fencing medal came from Anton Datsko, who won silver in the men's individual foil.

Ukraine's medal tally now stands at 18 gold, 15 silver and 17 bronze - 50 in total. There is some way to go to achieve Ukraine's ambition of coming third in the medals table, but the talent and dedication of the paralympic squad is not in doubt. The women's sitting volleyball team has reached the semi-finals and the 7-a-side football team has impressed everyone who has seen them play.

In an article in today's Times, Owen Slot writes about Valeriy Sushkevych, head of the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee, who lost the use of his legs to polio aged three, who has been the inspirational force behind Ukraine's paralympic success and who has established a training system which is unique in the world - combining training with intensive high performance care. Even the Chinese have been to visit the Evpatoria training facility and copied it. This article, which follows others about Ukraine's paralympic successes, is a fitting tribute to Sushkevych, who has devoted his life to championing disabled sport and the rights of disable people.

Ukrayinska Dumka


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