Paralympic Ukrainian biathlete withdraws from event after father captured by Russian forces

Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games – Para-cross-country skiing
FILE PHOTO: Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games – Para Cross-Country Skiing – Women’s Sprint Qualification – National Biathlon Centre, Zhangjiakou, China – March 9, 2022. Anastasiia Laletina of Ukraine in action. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 9, 2022

By Dhruv Munjal

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) – Ukrainian biathlete Anastasiia Laletina was forced to withdraw from the middle-distance competition at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing on Tuesday after her father was captured by Russian forces, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Paralympic Committee told Reuters .

Laletina’s father is a soldier in the Ukrainian army. The spokesman said they had no further details on his arrest.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to disarm the country, prompted the International Paralympic Committee to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Games.

Belarus was an important staging area for Russian troops.

The spokesman said 19-year-old Laletina is still in Zhangjiakou – the venue for the cross-country skiing and biathlon events – and will fly to Poland with the rest of the contingent at the end of the Games.

Despite initial uncertainty about their participation, Ukraine continued to collect medals at Wednesday’s Games, winning silver and bronze in cross-country skiing. They are third behind hosts China and Canada.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal; Editing by Toby Chopra) Paralympic Ukrainian biathlete withdraws from event after father captured by Russian forces


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