IBU President Olle Dahlin, second left, has visited Ukraine where he promised full support to help biathlon rebuild following the war with Russia ©IBU

International Biathlon Union (IBU) President Olle Dahlin has pledged to help the sport in Ukraine rebuild its infrastructure following a visit to the country to hold talks with key leaders and inspect the damage caused the war with Russia.

Dahlin was accompanied on the two-day visit by IBU secretary general Max Cobb.

The IBU leadership visited Bucha, where the construction prospect of a biathlon sports complex was discussed with the city's Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk and then travelled to Kyiv for a meeting with a delegation of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee led by its President Vadym Guttsait, who is also the country's Sports Minister, and the Biathlon Federation of Ukraine led by President Ivan Krulko.

During the meeting, the Ukrainian delegation emphasised that biathlon is a priority sport for the country and outlined their plans for the sport’s development and the hope that Ukraine can host the World Championships in the future.

Following a visit to the Ukrainian Parliament Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv, Dahlin and Cobb went to Chernihiv to see one of the biggest and most important biathlon training centres, which was completely destroyed during the war but is planned to be rebuilt in the near future.

Among those showing the delegation around the facility was Nina Lemesh, a retired biathlete who won a silver medal in the team event at the 1996 World Championships and bronzes in the 4x7.5 kilometres relay in 2000 and 2001.

She is now First Deputy Chairman of the Chernihiv Regional Council.

IBU President Olle Dahlin, left, visited the damaged Ukraine biathlon training centre in Chernihiv ©IBU
IBU President Olle Dahlin, left, visited the damaged Ukraine biathlon training centre in Chernihiv ©IBU

"We are here today to show our support and find ways to help now and for the future," Dahlin said.

"We have just come from the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in Slovakia where the Ukrainian team captured almost three times as many medals as any other team, 11 in all, two of them gold medals.

"We can only imagine that the excellence they have achieved, in the face of such great adversity, is a symbol of hope, strength and pride for those enduring this terrible war in Ukraine.

"We look forward to a time when peace returns to Ukraine, and our sport returns to the snowy fields and mountains of this beautiful country.

"We stand ready to provide expertise and advice in the reconstruction and expansion of biathlon venues in Ukraine and will do all we can to support.

"We look forward to celebrating the continued success of Ukrainian biathletes as a part of the biathlon family this winter."

To read Cobb’s account of the visit to Ukraine, click here.