Beginning in the 19th century, sports in Ukraine as wrestling, football and several other sports have attained immense popularity in Ukraine. The interest and attention placed by the Soviet Union towards physical education have proven to be very advantageous to the country. By the time Soviet Union ceased to exist, numerous gymnasiums, swimming pools, stadiums and other kinds of sports centers had already been established within Ukraine.
Football in Ukraine (Sports in Ukraine).
Football is the most played and most famous sport among Ukrainians. Vyscha Liha or Ukrainian Premier League is the country’s most significant football league. The Ukrainian First League or Persha Liha ranks second among the Ukrainian leagues. Druha Liga or the Second League is Ukraine’s second most important league. This league is divided into the West (A) and East (B) groups. The Amateur Level is the country’s fourth-level league.
After a football season ends, the two worst performing teams in the Ukrainian Premier League are demoted to the Ukrainian First League while the Ukrainian First League’s two best performing teams are transferred to the Ukrainian Premier League. The two lowest teams in the Ukrainian First League are transferred towards the Second League while the two most successful teams in the Second League are moved to the Ukrainian First League. The football teams gain one point for every draw and three points for every game that they win. Their score is not changed by a defeat. Every single team plays all the other football teams in the league twice.
Teams falling under any league may become participants of the Ukrainian Cup. The victors from the Ukrainian Cup and the Ukrainian Championship are the only ones who can participate in the Ukrainian Super Cup.
Andriy Shevchenko is a globally renowned Ukrainian football athlete. Ukraine views him as a national hero.
Poland and Ukraine hosted the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship.
Aside from football, the Ukrainians consider basketball as their most dominant sport. Basketball players coming from Ukraine were among the most important reasons why the national basketball team of USSR became immensely successful and why it even conquered the entire European and even worldwide basketball scenes. The most popular basketball players in Ukraine include Alexander Anatolyevich Volkov, Anatoli Polivoda, Vladimir Tkachenko and Alexander Belostenny. BC Kyiv has successfully qualified for the FIBA EuroCup finals in 2005 while BC Azovmash accomplished the same feat in 2007. Both Ukrainian basketball club teams have attained widespread attention.
The Ukrainian national basketball team has already become an established name among the elite European teams. The country has a good chance of winning the 2015 European Basketball Championship.
Basketball became even more popular in Ukraine after it was officially confirmed in 2012 that the country will host the 2015 European Championship. Odessa, Lions, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk will serve as the host cities.
Ukraine will repair some arenas for the much awaited sporting event. The major event has “We are ready!” as its slogan. Such a tag line, matches perfectly Ukraine’s experience with respect to the handling of massive sporting events. The Ukrainian Basketball Foundation President, Oleksandr Volkov, emphasized Ukraine’s very positive experience in hosting football championships. Ukraine was selected mainly because of the quality of its athletic infrastructure throughout the country.
Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president, decreed on February 2012 the establishment of an organizing committee that will handle the preparation and holding of 2015 European Basketball Championship in Ukraine. Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s prime minister, is the leader of the said committee.
The preparations conducted for the 2012 European Football Championship involved the construction of airports, hotels, major roads and other vital structures that will also be used for the 2015 European Basketball Championship.
It can be said with the greatest of confidence that the teams participating in the country’s basketball league, are capable of participating in the European Cup basketball championship. The Ukrainian Basketball Super League is the most important basketball league in the country. Vyscha Liha is Ukraine’s next top league while Persha Liha is acknowledged to be the next mightiest league.
Boxing in Ukraine.
Vitaliy and Volodymyr Klitchsko are Ukraine’s very popular heavyweight boxers. They have already achieved world championship titles numerous times before. They are the current holders of some IBO, IBF, Ring Magazine, WBC and WBO titles.
Ice Hockey in Ukraine.
The country’s ice hockey league is called the Professional Hockey League. Sokil Kyiv is the league’s most historic and most significant team. HC Donbass is a participant in the Kontinental Hockey League, and it is acknowledged as the highest level hockey team in Ukraine. The country’s national ice hockey team has already participated in the Olympics and some other world championship events.
Cricket in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Cricket Association has the objective of raising the popularity of cricket among Ukrainians. At present, there are numerous cricket clubs within the country. These include Crimea Cricket Club, Donetsk Cricket Club, Kharkiv Cricket Club, Kyiv Cricket Club, Luhansk Cricket Club, Ternopil Cricket Club and Vinnytsya Cricket Club.
Rugby in Ukraine.
Ukraine does not consider Rugby Union as a major sport. However, it is gaining increased interest from Ukrainians. The country has, in fact, a very long history with this sport which spans more than sixty years.
On 1991, the Ukrainian Union was established. The union became a part of the IRB in 1992 after Ukraine attained its independence. Despite the founding of a national rugby union during the 1960s, it cannot be viewed as a proper national union.
History during the Soviet Period
The year 1908 was the first time that rugby union got played within the Russian Empire. The Moscow Championship commenced in 1934. During the year 1936, the earliest Soviet Championship was held.
The USSR prohibited rugby union in 1949 as a part of the struggle against cosmopolitanism. In 1957, rugby competitions were permitted again. The Soviet Championship was once again held in 1966. USSR’s national team was later established, and it played its earliest match in 1975. There was a Ukrainian rugby team within the USSR; however, it was not given sufficiently high regard.
Ukraine’s Female Artistic Gymnasts.
There have already been a significant number of triumphant female Ukrainian gymnasts. Very notable names include Anastasia Koval, Iryna Krasnianska, Alina Kozich, Viktoria Karpenko, Tatyana Gutsu, Lilia Podkopayeva and Larisa Latynina. The team attained the eleventh place during the qualifying rounds, and it did not reach the final. However, Dariya Zgoba and Anastasia Koval qualified for the gymnastics finals in uneven bars. Dariya placed eighth while Anastasia was placed fifth.
Ukrainian gymnasts achieved remarkable accomplishments during the 2009 European Championships which was held in Milan, Italy. The country had at least one gymnast for every apparatus final events. The Ukrainian gymnasts won one bronze medal and one gold medal during the finals. Anna Kalashnyk was the Bronze Medallist on Vault while Yana Demyanchuk was the Gold Medallist on Beam. Yana also got the 12th place for the All-Around event.
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics.
Oleksandr Vorobiov was successful during the 2008 Summer Olympics that was held in Beijing, China. He won the bronze medal for artistic gymnastics on the still rings.
Male Ukrainian gymnasts have recently attained remarkable accomplishments in the 2009 European Champions and the 2012 London Olympics. During the 2009 European Championships, Mykola Kuksenkov won a bronze medal for his performance on the high bar while Oleksandr Vorobiov was the Silver Medallist on Still Rings. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Igor Radivilov won the bronze medal for gymnastics on vault.
Ukraine treats rhythmic gymnastics as its most famous sports. Anna Bessonova, Olexandra Tymoshenko, Natalia Godunko, Olena Vitrychenko and several other Ukrainian athletes are considered to be the best rhythmic gymnasts globally. The country has numerous clubs that are dedicated to rhythmic gymnastics.
Deriugina School is the most popular and most celebrated Ukrainian training school in the field of rhythmic gymnastics. It is located in Kyiv, and it is operated by Albina and Irina Deriugina.
Ukraine’s earliest participation in the Olympics as an independent country happened in 1994. Since that year, Ukraine has sent representatives to Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics on a consistent basis.
From 1952 to 1988, the athletes of Ukraine participated in the Olympics as representatives of the Soviet Union. After Soviet Union was dismantled, Ukraine became a member of the Unified Team in the year 1992.
Ukraine has garnered five medals from the Winter Olympic Games and 115 medals from the Summer Olympic Games. Gymnastics currently holds the record of providing the most number of medals for the country.
In 1990, the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine was established. Om 1993, it attained the recognition of the International Olympic Committee.
Ukraine regularly participates in both Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics. Its participation is characterized by success. During the 1996 Summer Olympics, Ukraine became ninth overall. Such a feat was the country’s best Olympics-related accomplishment.
The Ukrainian gymnast Lilia Podkopayeva achieved the All-Around title in Women’s Gymnastics during the 1997 Summer Olympics.