Some 50-60 Transcarpathian students, Greco-Roman wrestlers set out to Kyiv to support the Euromaidan. Young people from Tiachiv are planning to join the activists with their placards and slogans, which support the main demands of the participants of Euromaidan, and to stay in Kyiv until the situation is solved. “We have shown this initiative and desire to demonstrate our civic stand,” vice president of Greco-Roman Wrestling Federation of Zakarpattia oblast Ivan KUKUSHKIN told The Day. It has already been reported that the same initiative was taken by Greco-Roman wrestlers from Stakhaniv in Luhansk oblast. The Day also asked the specialist’s opinion concerning the participation of “titushko” athletes in provocations against the activists:
“The power simply uses them against the people,” Kukushkin considers, “A normal athlete, if he is really an athlete, has never shown force against the weak or the people on the whole. This is anti-sport. And normal athletes have never proved themselves as antipodes of the society. Coaches never raise them in such a direction. I am a coach, too. I have been an athlete for my entire life, I am European champion – we have never had anything of this kind. This phenomenon has been generated by current power, which is trying to resist, using illegal methods. I don’t think, ‘titushkos’ include only sportsmen; there are specially trained people. People of solid build are frequently called athletes.
“I will underline: our athletes are going to support the peaceful protest with peaceful methods.”
By Olha KHARCHENKO, The Day
“I DON’T WANT ANY DIRECT ANALOGIES, LIKE CALLING ‘TITUSHKOS’ ATHLETES”
Andrii LEONENKO, Master of Sport of Ukraine in power lifting, senior teacher at the Institute of Physical Training, Makarenko State Pedagogical University in Sumy:
“I would not equalize ‘titushkos’ to sportsmen. For an athlete sport is a lifestyle. It includes training sessions, which require efforts and time, and for which you have to sacrifice your rest, some hobbies, and amusements.
“A sportsman knows that keeping to regime is important for him, and that it is hard to gain shape again if you break the regime. Therefore people who are really involved in sport will hardly be involved in political provocations or start fights in maidans. Moreover, I don’t think mentors can instigate young people to take part in this kind of actions. As a teacher of the Institute of Physical Training with a 12-year-long working experience, I can say that an athlete and a coach are bound by very trustful relations. Athletes often confide to a coach what they cannot confide even to their parents. I for one have never seen any coaches who would encourage their fosterlings to become ‘titushkos.’
“I know from my experience that most of the graduates of our institute go to work in their profession, as teachers of physical training. This is their conscious choice, for which they acquire theoretical knowledge and gain corresponding physical shape. They also work in the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as guards in governmental and private organizations. I am sure that they can fulfill themselves one way or another, because training helps them develop the will-power: young people learn to overcome obstacles and to win, not only in sport, but in their everyday lives, too.
“We should not forget that ‘athletic young people’ we hear about need not be members of sports sections. Unfortunately, such phenomenon as ‘gatherings’ [of street youth] still exists, and they gather on a regular basis not necessarily to ‘have a smoke.’ They train, play football, do chin-ups. And it is not a new thing that young, strong, well-trained people is a resource both criminal structures, and political forces always seek to use. So, I will repeat myself: I don’t want any direct analogies like calling ‘titushkos’ athletes.”
Interviewed by Alla AKIMENKO, Sumy