Ukrainian athletes to train at Cardiff Met in preparation for Paris 2024 Olympic trials

The university has been called ‘a safe place for athletes to train and thrive’

Ukrainian athletes will be returning to Cardiff Metropolitan University to train for upcoming Olympic trials.

Earlier in 2022, Cardiff Met provided Ukraine’s four by 100 men’s relay team with accommodation, a training base, food and sports science whilst they trained for the Munich European Championships in August.

Now they’re back, with the aim of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics. This time, the men’s relay team are joined by individual male and female athletes.

Thanks to Cardiff Met performance coach Gareth Walton’s friendship with Ukrainian sprint coach Sergiy Basenko, and a £400,000 pledge from Cardiff Met in fellowships and scholarships, the athletes are able to focus on their training in times of severe uncertainty at home. The pledge comes as part of a wider twinning of UK and Ukrainian universities, with 71 partnerships being put into place to share resources and give support to Ukrainian universities and their staff and students.

The university has been partnered with H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, in a move dubbed by Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff Met, as “an important outward demonstration of our support.” Professor Aitchison also continued by saying that the uni “look forward to playing [their] part in the peace-building in Ukraine.”

Gareth Walton told the BBC “it’s amazing to see them grow and develop not only as sportsmen but as individuals, and to see what they’re doing for their nation is phenomenal”, going on to add that the initiative “showcases what Wales and Cardiff Met can offer in terms of facilities, coach development and a safe place for athletes to train and thrive.”

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