Ukraine women won bronze in London 2012 – What has happened over the last 4 years for the team?
After the Paralympic Games in London 2012, a lot of positive and negative changes have occurred for the team.
We received huge attention from the national media and more people became aware of the sport. Thanks to that, we have renewed our team with young players. This is great for the future prospects of the game.
One very important aspect for the development of our team is financial support of government, which increased significantly after the Games in London. We have more possibilities to compete at the International Tournaments, to improve our skills with strong teams and to learn from them.
There have also been some setbacks. We lost our training center in Eupatoria where we had great facilities and where our training camps were previously held for a long time.
The annexation of Crimea by Russia has provided a very difficult political and economic situation within our country. Our team captain of more than 10 years, Anzhelika Churkina, is a resident of the Crimea and, after the territory invasion, all the residents of the peninsula were expected to change their citizenships to Russian. This was necessary to get any social help or to work there. It is important for us, as patriots of our country, that Anzhelika does not change her citizenship and keeps playing for Ukraine to lead her team. The situation has made crossing the border to attend training camps extremely difficult, but she manages to visit all the camps, which have increased for the last year in preparation for Rio.
The Sitting Volley European Championship 2015 in Slovenia was a key championship for the team, because this confirmed our qualification for Rio and the team could then start preparing for the Paralympic Games without pressure. However, the Intercontinental Cup in China was a critical time for the team. The girls lost almost every match. It was an awful tournament for us and we could do nothing to turn the tide. When we came back home, we started to analyse our mistakes and the game of our opponents. We did a great job on that so that this situation never occurs again. We are happy that happened to us as now our coaches has implemented new secret methods for training and strategies for playing. It has changed our game for the better.
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