Young Ukrainian athletes arrive in Turkey to play

Young Ukrainian athletes arrive in Turkey to play

Young Ukrainian athletes arrive in Turkey to play

Some 131 Ukrainian athletes playing in the amateur football teams in the country have arrived in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Trabzon after leaving their hometowns due to the Russian invasion.

The athletes were welcomed at Trabzon Airport by Ahmet Ağaoğlu, the chairman of the Clubs Union Foundation and also Trabzonspor.

Ağaoğlu said that 53 of the athletes would be playing in the neighboring province of Rize, 60 of them will be hosted in Trabzon, while the others will be in the Sivas, Kayseri and Antalya provinces.

Stressing that they will host 60 Ukrainian athletes and their six parents at Özkan Sümer Football Academy, Ağaoğlu stated that the athletes would be in Turkey until the conditions in Ukraine return to normal.

He also pointed out that almost all of the athletes came from the city of Mariupol, where the clashes were most severe.

“They no longer have houses, training grounds, or clubs,” he said, adding that the athletes are between the ages of 10 and 16 and have gone through great trauma.

“No matter what, everyone’s homeland, everyone’s own land and their own home is where they want to go. They are our guests until the conditions in their country return to normal, but if they want to stay, our door is open to them,” Ağaoğlu said.

“We are the grandchildren of ancestors who have opened their doors to people and societies in distress for centuries, hosting them in this land,” he noted.