ITTF Foundation Brought Ukrainian Para Table Tennis Team to Lasko
All photos by Manca Meglič.
The ITTF Foundation, the Paralympic Committee of Slovenia and the Slovenian Table Tennis Association joined forces to bring ten Ukrainian players plus their managers and a coach to the ITTF Slovenia Para Open 2022.
Like many Ukrainians, our team had to flee home for safety. Table tennis has always been my anchor as an athlete, but we could no longer train as we used to due to the uncertainties. We are happy to be supported by the ITTF Foundation and the Slovenia Table Tennis Association. It is important for us to continue training and have the opportunity to participate in international tournaments. - Maryna Lytovchenko, female class 6, Paralympic Champion Tokyo 2020.
While play in Lasko ended on May 14, the ITTF Slovenia Para Open 2022 was merely the first chapter of the ongoing support for Ukrainian players by the worldwide table tennis community.
Ukraine was in Slovenia thanks to the support of the ITTF Foundation, the Slovenia Table Tennis Association and NPC Slovenia. It was with their help that our team and athletes had an opportunity to fight on the sports field. I also wanted to thank the worldwide table tennis family who was and still is helping our athletes in Europe. Those athletes were forced to leave their homes to save their lives and the lives of their families. Some of them might have no place to go back to even when the current crisis is over. - Oleksandra Nasadiuk, Team Manager of the National Paralympic Table Tennis team of Ukraine, Ukraine NPC.
Not only the above-mentioned organisations, support from other table tennis entities have also played a major role in their journey to Lasko.
I would also like to thank Jan Riapos, the President of the Slovak Paralympic Committee. He has held a training camp in Poland before the tournament in Slovenia and I was sponsored to participate by the Polish Paralympic Committee. In connection with the situation in our country, every player is trying to support each other in every possible way.” - Oleksandr Yezyk, Class 2 player, wheelchair user.
Prior to the ITTF Slovenia Para Open 2022, the ITTF Foundation has already activated the Emergency Relief Fund and expanded the reach of the #TableTennisUnited fundraising campaign to support the solidarity of Ukraine.
Since the war started, 19 Ukrainian refugees including Para players and their families are living at Table Tennis for All - Training Center in Prievidza, Slovakia, thanks to the generosity of the facility owner Saša Dragaš, who also received support from the #TableTennisUnited Fund.
It was great to see all the players gathered again in the ITTF Slovenia Para Open 2022. It is at the heart of the ITTF Group to leave no one behind and we were happy to see the Ukrainian players competing in Lasko. The table tennis community will stand with those facing crises and we want them to know that they have our full support to compete as elite athletes. - Petra Sörling, ITTF and ITTF Foundation President.
Further actions will be taken to support the upcoming and continuous needs of the Ukrainian table tennis community. Help us by clicking to donate below.
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