This fund was made up of an initial donation of USD 1,000,000 from the IOC and from Olympic Solidarity, and a further donation of USD 500,000 from the European Olympic Committees. Other donations from Olympic Movement stakeholders have subsequently also been received.
President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine and IOC Member Mr Sergii Bubkawas requested by the IOC President, Thomas Bach, to lead a small task force with his NOC and Olympic Solidarity for the allocation process and distribution of this Solidarity Fund.
On hearing the report from the task force, President Bach said:
“In these difficult circumstances, it is remarkable to hear about the great progress the task force is making to support the athletes and Olympic Community from Ukraine. It is also impressive to witness these expressions of solidarity within the Olympic Movement, uniting to provide this much-needed support.”
The main objective of the Fund is to maintain the level of Ukrainian sport by meeting the immediate humanitarian needs of the Ukrainian elite and high-level athletes, and to cover their participation in training camps at home and abroad, thus allowing them to prepare for competitions. Indeed, despite the very difficult conditions, Ukrainian athletes continue to train and show their strength of spirit, with the dream of standing on a podium and raising the Ukrainian flag.
The task force has been working in close cooperation with members and stakeholders of the Olympic Movement with the purpose of collecting information such as the proposed conditions to receive Ukrainian athletes and their entourage (accommodation, food and general humanitarian support), and identifying training opportunities in potential host countries. The task force members are also in daily contact with the NOC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Ukraine, with a view to analysing the immediate needs and providing satisfactory responses.
For three specific actions, USD 200,000 was immediately released, as many athletes, coaches and their families are still living in the war zone:
- Evacuation of athletes, coaches and family members from dangerous areas of military escalation.
- Provision of shelter and corresponding services such as transport, logistics, accommodation, nutrition, medicine and general humanitarian aid in safer areas, as well as expatriation where possible for athletes, coaches and their families.
- Assistance to 17 athletes and four coaches of the national rhythmic gymnastics team in preparation for the upcoming competitions of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) World Cup series and European Championships 2022.
Subsequently, a number of other actions have been undertaken, such as:
- The Ukrainian Paralympic Team (54 persons) was safely repatriated from Beijing, with extraordinary support from the NOC of Poland and the Polish Government to help the team transit through Warsaw.
Президент Національного паралімпійського комітету України Валерій Сушкевич подякував за допомогу МОКу та НОКу України, а також оцінив виступ української збірної в столиці Китаю.@ukrparalympic https://t.co/zDoeLP8AWB— НОК України (@OlympicUA) March 30, 2022
- The Ukrainian team was able to participate in the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival which took place in Vuokatti, Finland, last week, with many European NOCs (including Poland, Italy, Finland and Austria) lending their support not only with border crossings, accommodation and transport, but also to fully kit out the whole team, as sadly the warehouse in which the national team uniforms were stored had been destroyed a few days previously.
- A number of training camps in preparation for upcoming high-level competitions have been facilitated in close collaboration with the local NOCs and the respective International/National Federations, such as:
- The men’s national handball team is currently in Solingen, Germany, preparing for the qualifying competitions of the World Championships.
- 18 members of the national artistic swimming team are attending a training camp in Italy.
- A team of five athletes and two coaches are currently preparing in Austria for participation in the freestyle moguls European Cup event in Livigno, Italy.
- 15 athletes and three coaches of the Ukrainian epée team are staying at the National Institute for Sport Excellence in Israel. In addition, the Ukrainian National Fencing team will take part in the Fencing Cadet and Junior World Championships in Dubai at the beginning of April, facilitated by the NOC and the National Fencing Federation of Israel.
- In collaboration with World Archery and the National Federations in Romania and Germany, a training camp will be organised for the national archery team (14 people) at the archery training centre of the Bogenclub Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, to prepare for upcoming World Cup and European Championships.
- Seven athletes took part in the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Belgrade last month. The NOC of Romania facilitated the border passes and travel to Belgrade. Subsequently, these athletes went straight to Portugal and have joined a high-performance centre in the Algarve with the help of the NOC and the National Athletics Federation.
Yaroslava Mahuchikh clears 2.02m to win an emotional #WorldIndoorChamps high jump gold for Ukraine 🇺🇦— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) March 19, 2022
In addition, and following requests from Olympic Movement stakeholders, the IOC has exceptionally allowed supplementary, non-earmarked donations or contributions to be paid into the initial Solidarity Fund.
To date, spontaneous donations have already been received from the International Shooting Sport Federation, International Swimming Federation and the Japanese Olympic Committee, for a total amount of USD 700,000. Several Recognised Federations have also made spontaneous donations to the Fund.
The task force noted that, independently of the IOC’s Solidarity Fund, but in very close collaboration with Sergii Bubka and the task force, many members of the Olympic family are making huge efforts to support the Ukrainian Olympic Community on a bilateral basis.
For instance, the International Cycling Union has set up a fund of EUR 200,000 with the objective of helping all cyclists wishing to leave Ukraine to find safe haven in locations where they can continue to train and prepare for competitions. Meanwhile, the International Gymnastics Federation has established a special aid for Ukraine fund, which is offering support to the Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation and their FIG-licensed athletes and their coaches to access high-performance sports structures for training purposes.
Humanitarian aid is also being provided, and a call has been made by the NOC of Germany (DOSB) and the Germany Sports Aid Foundation for supplementary donations. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has made an offer to all winter sports national team athletes, coaches and families to live and train in Utah until such time as their country returns to stability; and the list is long.
In all, more than 50 NOCs and International Federations have already contacted the IOC to offer support. Sergii Bubka and his task force are working to ensure that the largest possible number of opportunities can be taken advantage of, for the benefit of athletes, coaches and the Ukrainian Olympic Community at large.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that, since the beginning of the invasion, four million Ukrainians, 90 per cent of whom are women and children, have fled the country and are now seeking asylum in neighbouring countries.
Additionally, 6.5 million people have been internally displaced within Ukraine. This unprecedented displacement crisis will have a long-term impact on those that have fled and on their host communities.
The Olympic Refuge Foundation is best placed to address this longer-term crisis through its programmes and network of partners using sport to support inclusion and the mental health and wellbeing of refugees.
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