It’s not easy going about doing our jobs while worrying about the safety of our loved ones.
Yet, that was the situation the Ukrainian basketball team found themselves in during their match on Friday (25 Feb) — shortly after their country was invaded by Russian forces.
While they lost 88-74 to Spain, the Ukrainian team received a standing ovation for their emotional efforts.
While the Ukrainian military forces faced the Russian invaders on the battlefield, Ukraine’s men national basketball team played Spain in a FIBA World Cup qualifying match.
Emotions were understandably high as Russia had begun the invasion just a few hours before.
Having heard the news of the invasion at 5am, Ukrainian basketballer Artem Pustovyi told Reuters it was the most difficult day of his life,
It is impossible to think about a game when you know your family is in pain, with your country being bombed at the same time.
Much like the entire world, the team couldn’t believe how the crisis had escalated so quickly in their home country.
Despite losing to the Spanish team, they received a standing ovation from the crowd after the match.
According to their coach, the team did their best to control their emotions during the game.
As they arrived at the venue, fans applauded them to show respect and lift their morale.
Instead of feeling grief, the Ukrainian team believed the game was an opportunity to display the strength of the Ukrainian people.
Mr Pustovyi even wore the words “No War” on his face — a straightforward appeal for peace.
Kudos to the Ukrainian basketball team for showcasing their grit and resilience in the face of adversity.
While the future might seem uncertain now, we hope the parties involved will eventually be able to resolve their differences.
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