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Ukrainian water polo player Mykhaailo from the war to Ostia: "We are competitors in the water and friends outside"

He was born in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine's historical Sloboda region, on 7 May 62 years ago. Mykhaailo Polyakov 's story is a sad one, but also full of courage and will to live. In water polo, which he has practised since he was a boy, he finds the strength to go on and to say no to this conflict that has alienated him from his family and closest friends.

He is the only one of the Ukrainian team to have managed to cross the border and arrive in Italy to compete in the European Water Polo Masters Championships in Rome. The others were obliged to stay in Ukraine by the government. He reached Ostia alone following his water polo memories. Since he no longer has his o wn team, the organisers placed him in the Romanian Hello Sport ACS team, which plays in the M55+ age group. He is an attacker and plays with the number 3 cap.

In life he is a teacher and after the European Championships he will return home. "It's the first time I'm in Italy and here in Ostia I'm getting on very well. I want to thank the Roma 2022 organisers for giving me the opportunity to take part in these championships, where you can breathe pure sporting spirit. We are all competitors in the water and friends outside,” he said.

DBM Photos / The use of photographs is permitted only and exclusively to publications registered for editorial purposes. Obligatory mention of credits.

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