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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Emotions were high this morning as Ukrainian athletes shared what weighed on their hearts. Team Ukraine gathered at the Main Media Center to discuss World Games competition results and their thoughts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For team Ukraine, competing at The World Games means more than winning medals – it’s about achieving hope for those still in distress back in Ukraine.

The overwhelming support for Ukraine did not stop at the world games opening ceremony.

With 17 medals total, team Ukraine is making a statement. While achieving a world title is an incredible accomplishment, the Ukrainian athletes hope their success here at the games will send as much light, positivity, and hope as possible back to Ukraine.

Ukrainian karate athlete, Anzhelika Terliuga, says life beyond today remains uncertain, but that she is grateful for the support from America and the world. “I am so happy to be here to get this medal,” said Terliuga. “What comes tomorrow? I don’t know. Hope to survive.”

Team Ukraine is in agreeance that the current state of Ukraine is worse than any horror movie you could ever imagine.

“Somebody’s asking me like ‘What are you going to do?’, I don’t know guys,” said Terliuga. “‘Are you okay?’- No, I’m not okay. ‘Are your family safe?’ No, my family is not safe.”

But as her fellow karate teammate, Stanislav Horuna, says, it is simply their everyday reality. Survival is not a guarantee, but they feel certain that with the support of the world, their war back home will be won.

“Of course, on the first days it was really scary because we didn’t know what will happen next day,” said Horuna. “But we had no doubts that we can stand against, and we will win.”

World Games and city officials made it clear this morning that our people’s love and support will only continue to grow stronger for those who are still fighting for their lives daily in Ukraine.