The Internet Radio “Universe” presents the project “UNconditional”, supported by the Embassy of the USA in Ukraine.
Yevhen Oleksenko, a Zaporizhzhia citizen, an anti-terrorist veteran and powerlifter, will participate in this year’s Invictus Games for the second time, so will Ukraine.
The Games will take place in Sydney, Australia, in late October. For the fourth time, this international competition will unite the officers and veterans who suffered wounds, injuries or illnesses during or as a result of their call of duty from all the corners of the world. This time 18 countries will participate. Ukraine will be represented by 15 invictus people, Yevhen Oleksenko, a Zaporizhzhia warrior with disability, will compete for the victory in powerlifting. The way how surely, concisely and even casually he tells about the preparation specifics for the future games is fascinating. Yevhen’s previous experience of participating in Toronto games, diligent work outs in the gym, despite all the injuries he suffered in the East of Ukraine, give him the grounds to hope for success.
“I work out for two hours 3-5 times a week. And in October I will work out only three times a week. The workload should reduce.”
Over the time of anti-terrorist operation, now renamed into Joined Forces Operation, almost 5000 Ukrainian soldiers and officers have suffered wounds of different degrees of complexity. This is the data from the Head Office of the Ukrainian Military Police. The problem of physical and psychological rehabilitation of warriors is one of the most burning social problems. The state, media, and NGO have been trying to solve it. One of the problems is the traditional in the society attitude towards the people with disabilities as to handicapped people who are unable to live their life to the fullest, unable to achieve professional or career success. The army people are not an exception, and they often suffer from social disrespect, superstitions, and fears that limit their access to successful jobs, studies, or development.
According to the initiators of the project, the Invictus Games are supposed to destroy the negative stereotypes in attitudes to soldiers with disabilities, change them for the feelings of pride and respect towards the people who have a unique experience.
“I do not need the pity, I treat the pity negatively, I do not need it. As for heroization, it’s difficult for me to assess it. I believe that the people who defend their country should be heroes, there should be a special attitude to me as I defended the country.”
Yevhen Oleksenko joined the frontline as a volunteer in the group of “Karpatska Sich” with a pseudonym “Tur” (literally – wild ox). It seems that this symbolic for Ukraine animal tur – that represents the features, luck, and views of our hero – is not randomly selected. At least, all the doubts evaporate as soon as you see Yevhen and talk to him.
In the Ukrainian traditional folklore and ancient writings the tur, as one of the embodiments of the God Veles, represents the immense power, uncontrollable strength, invincible vigor. It is quite likely that the features of this mythical tur are inherent in Yevhen Oleksenko. Despite the everyday challenges, they seem to help him to keep faith and dreams. Nowadays, he is doing his Master’s degree in Accounting and Auditing at Zaporizhzhia National University. He also intends to receive the certificate of a professional trainer. “I think that to run the country a person should have knowledge in different spheres, not one. I have also enrolled into courses of State Management for veterans at the Academy of President of Ukraine. They are not like studying for Master’s or PhD degree, but like the courses for veterans.”
During 2015-2016, Yevhen fought in the battles for the Donetsk airport, as well as near Pisky, Opytne, Vodiane. During one of the fights with the enemy, a piece of a shell severely damaged his back and nerves on the right leg. This injury disability forced Yevhen to demobilize. The ex-warrior still belongs to the “legion of freedom”. This is a combatant movement of one of Ukrainian political parties that fight in the Ukrainian east as parts of official military forces of Ukraine, National Guards, police and volunteer troops. Yevhen Oleksenko’s war experience and political preferences must have influenced his fundamental and pragmatic view of patriotism.
“Patriotism for me is not just a word, for me it is the defense of the motherland, first of all. That is every man must defend his motherland. If the person did not fight and did not defend their motherland, they cannot be a complete patriot. As a man, you should defend your country at the time of war. And in the peaceful time, any positive activity for the country can be patriotism. Every patriot should serve in the army, and not just serve but fight for his country if he is a patriot.”
From October 20th, for 7 full days, the Australian Sydney will host the IV Invictus Games. Ukrainian military people with disabilities, both men and women, will compete in athletics, archery, swimming, rowing on the simulator etc. Our Yevhen Oleksenko will compete for the victory in powerlifting. Not for conditional victory of physical strength, but for the trust in oneself and faith of his family, that are always more powerful than the conditions, for the real proud warrior that lives in every and each of us.
The program was prepared by Tetiana Marchenko, Pavlo Miroshnichenko, and Rostyslav Diagelev. The text was read by Pavlo Miroshnichenko.
Ця програма розповідає про учасника національної збірної Invictus Games. Історія запорізького бійця АТО, як приклад неймовірної людської сили, яка надихає жити на повну. Головний герой програми — Євген Олексенко. Лікарі були впевнені, що він не зможе ходити без палички. Але Євген виявив надзвичайну силу духу та вже за три роки показав найкращий результат жиму лежачи серед ветеранів.