Bubka called to IOC HQ to spearhead drive to help Ukraine's Olympics stars

By Sports Desk March 03, 2022 812

Sergey Bubka has been summoned to Switzerland to lead the Olympic movement's humanitarian response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The pole vault legend, now 58, is president of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee and considered the best-placed figure to spearhead efforts to help those in need.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is based in the Swiss city of Lausanne, and it is there that plans will be drawn up to support Ukrainian athletes and sport bodies affected directly by the Russian invasion.

IOC president Thomas Bach said in a letter to the Olympic movement that there had been an overwhelming "outpouring of solidarity" from stakeholders towards Ukraine, with efforts already under way to help exiled athletes.

The IOC has created a solidarity fund, and Bach said it was necessary "to increase the assistance already provided, but also ensure that it is coordinated in an effective manner".

This is where Bubka comes in, with Bach "urgently" requesting that the long-time former world record holder and IOC member makes himself available "to coordinate all elements of humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian Olympic community", including the allocation and distribution of funds raised.

Bach added: "To facilitate this task we will begin collecting information on the whereabouts of these members of the Ukrainian Olympic community as well as ongoing initiatives and support."

According to Ukraine's National Olympic Committee, in a statement issued this week, Bubka stayed in Ukraine after the Russian attack began.

He issued a statement on Tuesday that read: "Thank you for all your supportive messages and calls we received from around the world. Ukraine is grateful to the IOC for its full solidarity as well as to its task force for its communications with the NOC of Ukraine for coordination of humanitarian assistance. The war must stop, peace and humanity must win."

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Last modified on Thursday, 03 March 2022 16:01
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