14 May 2017
EAA President Svein Arne Hansen and EAA Council members Gregor Benčina and Márton István Gyulai attended Ukraine at the invitation of national Athletics Federation to observe the international match featuring Ukraine, Cyprus, Israel, Romania and Belarus U20 teams in Lutsk. Sergey Bubka, IAAF Senior Vice President and Ukraine’s NOC President, welcomed his colleagues at Ukraine’s NOC Headquarters ‘Olympic House’ in Kyiv.
Bubka, who is also IOC Executive Board member, joined the guests at the meeting with Ukraine’s Prime-Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Development of the sport and cooperation between UAF, Olympic movement and government were discussed at the meeting. Mr Groysman said it was symbolic that they met during the Eurovision Song contest week in Kyiv, adding that Ukraine has huge experience in hosting major international championships, like 2013 IAAF Youth World Championships in Donetsk, as well as two European Championships, diving and boxing, the country to host in June 2017. Ukraine’s PM said the country aspires to host EAA competitions and events.
Mr Hansen and his colleagues praised Ukraine as an important part of European athletics, with deep roots and great champions, saying EAA is open for enhanced cooperation with the country and the UAF.
Sergey Bubka added that a lot has been done recently in terms of athletics infrastructure in his country with several venues receive IAAF certificates. Bubka also joined discussion on antidoping policy of the country which voted new edition of Antidoping law due to efforts of many officials including Prime Minister Groysman. New law provides possibilities for Ukraine to be more active in terms of antidoping and development of the National Antidoping Center.
The summiteers decided to make a list of EAA events Ukraine could bid in the future. The next day, when EAA President and Council members along with Bubka attended Lutsk for the opening ceremony of the international match, it was unveiled that UAF will bid for 2018 Combined Events team championships.
If the bid is successful, the event will take place at the renovated ‘Avangard’ venue in Lutsk. Sergey Bubka, Mr Hansen and his counterparts accompanied by UAF President Ihor Hotsul and local officials made a tour over the arena and took part at the ceremony. The action was held at XIV century’s ‘Prince Lubart’s fortress’, one of the oldest in the country.
Bubka commented on the visit of EAA officials, saying ‘I would like to thank my colleagues and friend Svein Arne, Gregor and Marton for this visit which was so important for the progress of athletics in Ukraine. In the situation where the country finds itself the sport desperately needs international support and cooperation. I know that UAF is proactive in terms of cooperation with national and local governments for constructing infrastructure and carrying out development projects, as well as in fight against doping. I think the time has come when Ukraine can play more active part for European athletics family’.