Oleksandr Sirsky, the new commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, has long been involved in the fight against Russia.

Paris 2024: Ukrainian judoka Daria Bilodid aims for Olympic gold for “the youth of Ukraine”.

Ukrainian judoka Daria Bilodid brings together hundreds of judokas during an international training course, at the Paris Dojo, February 6, 2024.

“Somehow, we are used to war” : Ukrainian judoka Daria Bilodid, a double world champion at the age of 23, explained to Agence France-Presse that she wants to win Olympic gold in Paris “only” For him, but for him “Country” And “Youth of Ukraine”.

In 2023, Daria Bilodid was unable to win a third world title in Doha. To protest against the presence of Russian judoka, Ukraine boycotted the competition. Injustice according to the young judoka. All these people who are going to participate in the world championship are soldiers. It doesn’t make any sense”The athlete wrote on Instagram, believing that he was “Unacceptable to authorize the troops of a terrorist country that kills Ukrainians every day”.

This week, during an international training course bringing together hundreds of judokas who met at a Paris dojo, the 2021 Tokyo Games bronze medalist now wants to “With my eyes set on a gold medal, focus fully on training” in six months.

This summer, only Russian athletes who have not actively supported the war and are not under contract with the military or national security agencies will be able to compete under a neutral banner, and if they are eligible of course, it has been decided that the international Olympics will be held at the end of 2023. committee. “I accept” To fight them, if the drow so choose, she says. Also “Of course, it’s not the same thing” to fight the Russians, “Obviously I want to win against them even more” than other nationalities. “I think the competition is very close, so now I’m trying to focus more on my preparation”Daria Bilodid, world champion at −48 kg in 2018 and 2019 but has since dropped to −57 kg, explains.

At −48 kg, Daria Bilodid, a very tall judoka compared to her former opponents at 1.72 m, still makes her size an asset in her new category. But beyond that, she highlights it as her strong point “character” And his “soul” : “I think that’s my main strength, my mentality, I think I have the spirit of a champion, I want to win all competitions, I want to be the best. »

Despite the war, Daria Bilodid continues to live in Ukraine, in Kiev, though “It’s not easy to train him” every day “Everyone is so tired of war”She continues. “Sometimes rockets keep falling on Kiev. It is difficult, but somehow we are used to the war and we continue to train. No one knows what will happen now. »

Daria Bilodid “Always loved representing Ukraine even before the war”. “But today, I want to win more not only for myself, but also for my country. This is very important for our people and for Ukrainian youth.She said that.

After February 24, 2022, the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the young star with half a million subscribers on Instagram exchanged her charming publications for messages of sorrow. “I will never forget the sound of the explosions, the bombings, the calls from my family saying “it has begun”, the fear and the tears.She writes for example on March 24, 2022.

About two years later, who was to live and train in Valencia, Spain, he wished “Show us there’s still hope, that we’re still standing”Says the judoka, whose sport definitely involves not falling.

Surrounded by her mother and coach Svitlana Kuznetsova, also mentored by her father, 2005 world medalist Gennady Bilodid, the Ukrainian has clear goals in 2024: “Hearing the Ukrainian national anthem in Paris will be one of the greatest emotions”.

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