Ukrainian youth teams win emotional titles in challenging season

Ukraine’s recurve teams win first medals of 2022 at the European Youth Championships.

Recurve archers from Ukraine won gold medals in the under-18 mixed team and  under-18 women’s team events at the 2022 European Youth Archery Championships held this week at Lilleshall, the headquarters of Archery GB.

They mark the country’s first international victories since the start of the crisis in Ukraine in February.

“It’s very important for us,” said Ukrainian coach Serhii Rodionov. “We have prepared and wanted to show that we are strong enough to overcome the difficulties.”

“Before the war, we took four gold medals at the [European] indoor championships. After the war, we wanted to retake our competitive level.”

Many of Ukraine’s young archers have been living, training and studying in Poland after evacuating the country. Their trip to Britain was funded partially through an ongoing online fundraising campaign and partially by Archery GB.

“I return to Lilleshall after 20 years to such a welcome,” said Rodionov, who was head coach in Britain when Alison Williamson won bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

“A huge thank you to Archery GB. We are also very thankful to the Polish federation and supporters in Germany and Austria. Everybody wants to help us.”

Ukraine’s compound under-21 mixed team and recurve under-21 men’s team added a further two bronze medals at the championships.

The highlight was Daria Koval and Bohdan Ilyin’s excellent performance in their recurve mixed team final to defeat French under-18s Anna Jakusic and Baptiste Addis, 5-1, and secure Ukrainian archery’s first international title of 2022.

“It’s a dream,” said Ilyin. Koval added that the pair were “very happy”.

Competition concludes at the 2022 European Youth Championships with individual finals on Saturday.

Header picture courtesy John Stanley. Quotes courtesy Sophie Meering/Archery GB.

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