Young Biathlete Yevhen Malyshev dies during Russia-Ukraine Conflict

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The International Biathlon Union (IBU) lamented on Wednesday the death of the young Ukrainian Yevhen Malyshev while fighting in his country the invasion of Russia, a country whose biathletes, along with those of Belarus, has been prohibited from competing in its international events.

“The Executive Committee of the IBU expresses its deepest condolences for the loss of former Ukrainian biathlete Yevhen Malyshev (19), who died this week serving in the Ukrainian army. The Executive Committee once again condemns the Russian attacks on Ukraine and the support provided by Belarus and reiterates its hope for an immediate end to the war,” the body said in a statement.

Vitalii Sapylo died in combat with Russian forces and Dmytro Martynenko was killed along with his mother after a bombing of their home.

In addition, the IBU confirmed that although it was initially going to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to “compete as neutral athletes”, it has finally decided “not to allow the participation of Russian or Belarusian athletes or managers in international events until further notice, including non-sporting events organized by the IBU for its members“.

“The Executive Committee will further discuss a possible suspension of the two national federations from their membership in the IBU, no later than the March 17 meeting. The Russian Biathlon Union (UBI) had been relegated to provisional membership as early as 2017, meaning there are no organized or planned events in Russia until 2026 and no UBI representative will hold any official position at the IBU.”

The federation sees these decisions as necessary “to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Olympic community and to protect the integrity of IBU competitions and the safety of its participants in sporting and non-sporting events.

Sergiy Stakhovsky enlists in the Ukrainian army

While many Ukrainian athletes continue to enlist in the ranks of their country’s army to defend Ukraine from the advance of Russian troops in the invasion. The latest to do so has been tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, winner of four ATP titles and who came to eliminate Roger Federer in the second round of the Wimbledon tournament in 2013.

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“I know how to use a gun. I hope I don’t have to use it, but if I have to, I will,” Stakhovsky explained in an interview on the BBC in which he also assures that it is a complicated decision because his wife did not want him to go to war: “I know it has been a very difficult decision for my wife. My children don’t know I’m here, they still don’t understand what war is. They’re too small to know what’s going on.”

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