Two Ukrainian players will be staying at the CoE
Date: 3/24/2022 3:34 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
As the invasion of Ukraine continues, more and more Ukrainian citizens flee the country in search of safety. Badminton players Danylo Shevchuk and Erika Titokhod will be staying at the Centre of Excellence as part of BEC’s aid measures. 

It has been over three weeks now since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the devastating attack has brought with it widespread devastation that has forced millions of Ukrainian civilians to leave their homes and their country in search of safety. 

The Board of Directors of Badminton Europe Confederation (BEC) condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine, and later announced after a meeting an emergency funding package to aid Ukrainian Badminton players.

Luca Crippa, Technical Director of the Ukrainian Badminton Federation, has been one of the main contact persons with BEC to ensure the safety of those in the Ukrainian badminton community that required help.

- I want to thank the Board of Directors of BEC and all the staff that are making miracles happen to help Ukrainian people. We got an immediate response from BEC when the aggression started, Crippa stated.

The CoE, open to those who need it
Part of the emergency funding package was to open BEC’s Centre of Excellence to those players affected by the war. Danylo Shevchuk and Erika Titokhod are two of the many Ukrainians that have been displaced and arrived to Denmark last week to stay at the CoE.

- I was in talks with Development & High Performance Senior Manager Jacob Oehlenschlaeger and General Secretary Brian Agerbak to find solutions. The CoE was immediately open to welcome players. We often have language and family barriers, but we have so many players in Ukraine that we will find more people that could go to Holbæk in the near future, Crippa said.

As Development & High Performance Senior Manager in Badminton Europe, Jacob Oehlenschlaeger oversees the top-quality base where European badminton talents train. He hopes the CoE can serve as a good refuge for those Ukrainian players that need a place to stay.

- When the war broke out in Ukraine, we immediately reached out to the Ukranian Badminton Federation to offer our help and support. Since then, regular contact has been held with Luca Crippa in order to coordinate and help the players coming to the CoE. We are looking forward to welcoming the Ukranian players, taking good care of them and giving them a daily life with badminton at the CoE despite these very difficult times, Oehlenschlaeger stated.

Shevchuk and Titokhod have joined the permanent and temporary players at the CoE in Holbæk where they get to stay in the accommodation and train at the training facilities with Head Coach Jeroen van Dijk and Coach John Dinesen.

- Danylo and Erika are two young players from Ukraine. They were in Kyiv at the National Center in the development group. We had a project for them together with clubs and coaches to develop them and to give them a future in the sport. I hope that Denmark will welcome and integrate them into society, Crippa explained.

Hoping for peace
Shevchuk and Titokhod have also joined fellow Ukrainian player Anna Mikhakova who has been staying at the CoE since 2019 and is also receiving support from BEC. 

- It is a very strange feeling when you realise you can’t go back home because it is simply not possible, and you don’t know when it will end. Almost everyone I know had to leave without any clue about what they would do next or where they could stay. It is not a normal life anymore, Mikhalkova explained.

These are difficult times for Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens, hence the call to take unified action in the badminton family by the Board of Directors.

- We haven't fully realised yet the human tragedy that is going on in Ukraine, where basically everyone is losing jobs, friends, and families. The support must continue. Europe and Badminton Europe is giving proof of how strong we are. This is a positive message for our future, Crippa stated.

- We just need to hope and believe that there will be peace sometime soon, Mikhalkova added.
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