We wouldn't have imagined writing about wars in 2022, but here we are. Factually speaking, the Russian attack on Ukraine isn't the first instance of war in these times, there's violence in Palestine, in Syria, in Afghanistan. However, the kind of rightful support pouring in for the Ukrainians in these unimaginable times gives us some hope that those living in safer spaces will stand up for everyone who is suffering.
Here are instances of sports doing its part in appealing for peace and standing up for the people of Ukraine.
1. Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev took a strong stand against the violent policies of his country's leadership and wrote "no war please" on the camera after winning the semifinal of the Dubai Tennis Championships (he won the tournament a few days later).
He later gave a statement on the whole issue.
In these moments you realize that my match is not important. It's not about my match, how it affects me. Because what's happening is much more terrible.
2. Inspired by it Jiří Veselý, a Czech tennis professional wrote: "No war" on the camera.
3. When Ukrainian footballer Roman Yaremchuk came in to play as a substitute for his team Benfica, the stadium erupted with applause. Visibly moved by the gesture, Yaremchuk thanked the crowd.
4. During the Everton vs Manchester City, Vitaly Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko got emotional seeing the outpouring of love for them and their country Ukraine.
Heartbreaking to see Oleksandr Zinchenko in tears before kick-off as both teams show their support for Ukraine 💔 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/bZYNyziMSh— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 26, 2022
5. The International Olympics Committee, in a very strong statement, asked the sports bodies to cancels games in or against Russia and to play the country's national anthem at events.
6. F1 legend Sebastian Vettel refused to participate in Russia GP, in the wake of its attack on Ukraine. Other drivers are also expected to do the same.
7. Another Russian tennis player and the current world number 1, Daniil Medvedev posted this heartwarming message on his social media handle in the wake of the current events.
He was also quoted as saying:
By being a tennis player I want to promote peace all over the world. We play in so many different countries. I’ve been in so many different countries as a junior and as a pro. It’s just not easy to hear all this news. I’m all for peace.
9. For now, FIFA has banned Russia from hosting any international football match.
BREAKING: FIFA announces no international football games to be played in Russia, while the team's flag and anthem will be banned during matches in other nations— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) February 27, 2022
10. Poland has refused to play football matches against Russia, this includes their World Cup qualifier. Here are the team's captain, Robert Lewandowski's words on the matter:
It is the right decision! I can't imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can't pretend that nothing is happening.
Sports has an unreal capacity of offering love if people put their hearts in the right place. Even if subconsciously - that's what draws most of us to it in the first place. May there be peace.