Ukraine greets Paralympians in triumphant return from Tokyo

Kiev, Sep 6 (EFE). Over a hundred team Ukraine athletes brought home dozens of medals to the admiration of millions as they returned to Kiev from the Tokyo Paralympic games on Sunday and early Monday.

Ukraine’s Paralympic team wrapped up the Tokyo games with 98 medals, including 24 gold, 47 silver and 27 bronze.

The Eastern European country ranked sixth in the overall medal rating, right behind China, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Russian Paralympic Committee and the Netherlands.

For the first time in Ukrainian Paralympic history, the athletes will be granted the same prize money from the state as their Olympic counterparts: $125,000 for gold, $80,000 for silver and $55,000 for bronze.

Although the team did not match its Rio 2016 results, where Ukraine ranked third with a record 117 medals for the country, its Tokyo 2020 performance was still received with pride as a notable feat.

The Ukrainian swimmer Maksim Kripak became the most decorated athlete of the Tokyo Paralympics, with five golds and a total of seven medals.

Athlete Oksana Zubkovska won her fourth Paralympic gold in the long jump, despite having sustained an injury four days before kickoff that did not dissuade her from hitting the sand anyway.

“This victory was incredible,” she told Hromadske TV. “I couldn’t imagine I was capable of this, so I am very proud of myself.”

Since 2004, Ukraine has broken into the top six of the leaderboards at each iteration of the Paralympic Games.

The continuous success of Ukrainian Paralympic athletes shines bright in comparison to the national Olympic team’s generally modest performance, with one gold, six silver and 12 bronze medals in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, ranking 44th.

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