A former Invictus Games trialist from Ukraine has been killed fighting against the Russian invasion of his country, the Invictus Games Foundation said.
Serhii Karaivan died on Sunday and the Ukrainian team manager paid tribute to his “sense of humour, professionalism, patriotism and sports endeavours”.
The Duke of Sussex founded the games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.
The Invictus Games Foundation said in a statement on its website: “It is with regret that the Invictus Games Foundation can report that a member of the Ukrainian Invictus Games community has been confirmed as a fatality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is with regret that we report that a member of the Ukrainian Invictus Games community has been confirmed as a fatality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
More: https://t.co/3cuaLFCqiV pic.twitter.com/ThwgLnDS3m
— Invictus Games Foundation 💛🖤+💜 (@WeAreInvictus) March 16, 2022
“Serhii Karaivan, a former trialist for the Invictus Games and Warrior Games for Team Ukraine, lost his life in fighting on the 13th March, 2022, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and the wider community.”
The foundation said it was aware of many Ukrainian Invictus competitors – injured in the conflict with Russia which began in 2014 – and staff and team management signing up to serve again.
Oksana Horbach, team manager for the Ukrainian Invictus Games team, said: “It was tough to learn about Serhii’s death as the fighting continues.
“When we win, we will celebrate his life, talk about him, and his sense of humour, professionalism, patriotism and sports endeavours.
“And we will hug and cry and laugh because the memories of him bring joy and happiness. Please do not think of him as a martyr, he would not like it. Think of him as a celebrated Invictus Games community member, hero and defender of Ukrainian people.”
The upcoming Invictus Games, delayed because of the pandemic, will be staged in The Hague next month.
The foundation, which oversees the delivery of the Invictus Games, said in the statement: “When the time is right, the Invictus Games Foundation will once again support Team Ukraine with the rehabilitation and recovery through sport that it will need.”