Invictus Games

Ukrainian Invictus captain killed three weeks before start of games honoured

Watch: Invictus Games honours the lives of Team Ukraine's fallen heroes.

The life and courage of former Invictus Games champion and Ukraine team captain Sergiy Ilnystkyi has been honoured after he was killed in action while defending his homeland just three weeks before the games started.

Colonel Sergiy Ilnytskyi died while fighting Russian forces in Donbas in August. He is the twelfth member to have been lost in the fight against Russia.

Col Ilnytskyi and the other members of Team Ukraine who have been killed were honoured in a memorial event which was organised by fellow competitors.  

Sergiy Ilnytskyi was the commander of a detachment in the 28th Brigade and a Kyiv City Council official.

During active service in 2014, he was injured whilst fighting in the Ukrainian Volunteer Army.

However, his injuries did not stop him from participating in the Invictus Games in 2018, where he won a gold medal in rowing. 

Those responsible for organising the competition are keen for everyone to know that Invictus stands with Ukraine.

In a speech at the games, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said: "Let me highlight the relevance and importance of the presence of our Ukrainian friends.

"This is very important. This means a lot to me.

"We must never stop supporting Ukraine in their war as long as it takes."

Watch: Invictus Games underway with attention on the war in Ukraine.

The Invictus Games have provided a distraction for Ukrainians from the ongoing conflict in their own country.

In February 2022, Oleksandr Makovey survived an explosion caused by a mine. It was an attack that killed two of his comrades.

He said that since taking up sport and fitness as a form of rehabilitation, with the help of his daughter, his life had "started to change in a positive way".

When the Games are over Team Ukraine will leave the Dusseldorf venue and return to active duty.

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