ByChristopher Guly / Special to The Ukrainian Weekly |
OTTAWA – Team Ukraine took home 14 medals from its inaugural participation in the Invictus Games in Toronto. But the athletes, who competed in athletics, power lifting, swimming, archery, cycling and indoor rowing, reached the top of the podium in terms of the support and admiration they received from within and outside the Ukrainian Canadian community.
In its first year competing, Team Ukraine quickly became the star of the 2017 Invictus Games. A joyous gathering of Ukrainian Canadians met the Ukrainian contingent at Toronto’s airport, singing the Ukrainian national anthem. The triumvirate of England’s Prince Harry, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko effusively praised Team Ukraine at the games’ world press meet-and-greet. Team Ukraine was composed of only 15 athletes, but these were 15 fiercely determined to make Ukraine proud in Toronto. The veteran-athletes received much attention, as both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Poroshenko were in Toronto after the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City just days prior.
WHIPPANY, N.J. – The general meeting of the Ukrainian Sports Federation of the U.S.A. and Canada (known by the acronym USCAK) was held on September 16 at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey, where board directors presented their reports and a new board of directors was elected. The meeting attracted delegates representing various sports organizations from across the United States and Canada. Following nearly five hours of reports, a meeting presidium was selected, headed by Myron Bytz, USCAK president, and Ihor Bokiy, Ukrainian-language press secretary. The minutes from the previous meeting were read and this year’s meeting’s agenda was outlined. A lively procedure ensued in selecting candidates to the nominations, elections and by-laws committees.
WILDWOOD CREST, N.J. – The sixth annual Ukrainian Sports Federation of the U.S.A. and Canada (USCAK) National Beach Volleyball Tournament was held on an absolutely perfect Friday, August 25, during “Ukrainian Week” on the beach behind the Pan American motel. Organized and hosted by Lys Sports Academy of Whippany, N.J., the tournament was sponsored by Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union and Ukrainian Selfreliance Federal Credit Union of Philadelphia. Registration began bright and early on Friday morning at a tent decorated with the sponsors’ banners. In order to participate, teams needed to be affiliated with USCAK member clubs, such as Chornomorska Sitch, Lys Sports Academy, Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization, Ukrainian American Sports Center Tryzub or the Ukrainian American Youth Association. Nine teams registered for the tournament.
Matthew Dubas of The Ukrainian Weekly spoke with individuals from the U.S. youth team that traveled for the Friendship Cup in Ukraine on July 12-15. (See story in our September 24 issue.) Mr. Dubas spoke with the players during their time at the Ukrainian American Youth Association sports camp in Ellenville, N.Y., that was held July 23 through August 5. Lukian Tomaszewsky, 15, of Yonkers, N.Y., UAYA:
This idea of the tournament was started by my father, Michael, and the team was formed based on recommendations and ability, and it took one month begin building the team. During the dinners we held after each match with the opposing team, we learned a lot about each other through discussion, where we found out that only a few of them danced Ukrainian folk dancing and could perform steps in the “Kolomyika.”
During the tournament in Ivano-Frankivsk, we really noticed the Soviet-style stadiums that we used. These were 5,000-person venues made of concrete.
KERHONKSON, N.Y. – This year’s USCAK National Tennis Championships held at Soyuzivka Heritage Center during Labor Day weekend was marked by new faces, unexpected situations and uncooperative weather due to the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that affected Texas. There was also no play on Sunday due to heavy rain all day. However, as regulars like to say, “the magic of Soyuzivka” prevailed despite some of the problems along the way. Ending an impressive six-year cycle of first- and second-place wins since 2011 between Marko Krasij (Texas) and Mykola Stroynick, (New York state) in the men’s division, this year’s tournament resulted in two phenomenal “co-champions” due to some complicated issues and unrelenting Mother Nature. Sharing the number one spot were Adrian Charchalis, outstanding high school senior and accomplished junior player, and winner of regional championships from Maryland; and former member/captain of the Ukrainian National Team and a coach originally from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Oleksandr Zavorotnyi, who is now a teaching tennis pro at a tennis facility in New Jersey.
• Mykyta Matashevskyi (90 kg) won silver and Oleh Ovcharenko (66 kg) won bronze at the Junior European Judo Championship on September 15-17 in Maribor, Slovenia. Leonid Gasyuk (+100 kg) and Karo Marandian (66 kg) finished in fifth place, and Iryna Khryashchevska (70 kg), Vitalii Shepel (90 kg), Hievorh Manukian (73 kg) and Aleksandr Cherkai (81 kg) finished in seventh place. In men’s team competition, Ukraine lost 2-3 in the second round against Azerbaijan. • Georgii Zantaraia (66 kg) finished in fifth place at the World Senior Championships in Budapest, Hungary, held on August 28 through September 2. The tournament attracted 731 athletes from 126 countries.
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – A U.S.-based soccer team, made up of members of the Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA), participated in an international soccer tournament in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, on July 12-15. The tournament, “On the Wings of Friendship Cup (Ukraine Heritage and Soccer Cup),” was made possible by an initiative between the UAYA and the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast soccer federation, as well as the soccer fields arranged by Ruslana Martsinkiva (Ivano-Frankivsk), Ihor Sliuzaria (Kolomiya) and Ihor Matviychuk (Kalush). The players, age 16 and under, included four teams – Teplovyk Deuce No.3 of Ivano Frankivsk, Karpaty of Kolomiya, FC Kalush and the U.S. team of the UAYA. Matches were held in stadiums, including Rukh in Ivano-Frankivsk, Khimik in Kalush and Yunist in Kolomiya. Karpaty won the tournament after winning the final 4-2 against Kalush; in the third-place match, Ivano-Frankivsk won 5-3 against the U.S. team.
• In girls’ doubles at the U.S. Open in New York that concluded on September 10, Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine and Olga Danilovic of Serbia won first place after winning 6-1, 7-5 against Lea Boskovic of Croatia and Wang Xiyu of China in the final. The Ukrainian-Serb duo won 6-4, 7-6(7-3) against Sofya Lansere and Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia in the semifinal and won 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinal against Emily Appleton of Great Britain and Emiliana Arango of Colombia. Boxing
• Ukraine was represented by eight boxers at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg, Germany, on August 25 through September 2. Middleweight Oleksandr Khyzhniak (81 kg) won the gold-medal bout against Ablikhan Amankul of Kazakhstan. Viktor Vykhryst (+91 kg) lost in the second round against Joseph Goodall of Australia, and Iurii Shestak (60 kg) lost in the quarterfinal against Sofiane Oumiha of France.
• Ukraine lost 0-2 against Iceland on September 5 in Reykjavik as part of the World Cup qualifiers for Europe. In the previous match against Turkey on September 2, Andriy Yarmolenko scored a brace of goals for Ukraine at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv. Ukraine won the match 2-0 with Yarmolenko scoring in the 18th minute and then again in the 42nd minute. The head coach for Turkey was Mircea Lucescu, a Romanian and former coach for Shakhtar Donetsk. Ukraine is in fourth place in Group I after eight matches played (four wins, two draws and two losses) with 14 points (tied with Turkey).