Laura Wright

Ukraine’s Serhii Torchynskyy won a bronze medal in the men’s IF4 shot put during a long, punishingly hot day of competition at York Lions Stadium in Toronto. This marks Ukraine’s first-ever Invictus Games medal, as it is the nation’s first time participating in the Games.

“It’s impossible to describe how big my emotions are here at the Invictus Games. It’s great to win a medal on the first day of the Games,” said Serhii, through a translator. “All the guys are very strong competitors in many sports, and we hope to win other medals as well. It’s a great pleasure to be the first one to win a medal and to bring a medal to the Ukrainian team.”

Every time Serhii stepped up to the throwing circle, cheers from Team Ukraine and their supporters filled the stadium.

Laura Wright

“I heard all the noise and support from the audience. They not just cheered, but they chanted slogans of support to help me feel stronger,” said the 29-year-old from Lutsk. Serhii made a point to thank the competitors and supporters who travelled from Ukraine and the Ukrainian community in Toronto. “It’s wonderful to have the support of my teammates, who travelled from Ukraine and local Ukrainians. That was a big thing to help this result.”

Serhii is a member of Ukraine’s National Police and has shrapnel wounds in his neck from his time serving in the country’s Armed Forces.

Preparing for the Invictus Games encouraged him to become actively involved in sport, work toward new achievements and train regularly in the gym. During his training, he has a fun tradition: giving his trainer a banana as a token of gratitude.

Serhii’s bronze-medal-winning throw was 13.71 metres long — a personal best. “I personally feel the medal is a gold medal because the result from today is much stronger than in training. I feel like it’s a big achievement,” said Serhii after the Medal Ceremony.

Now that his first day of competition is over, Serhii is preparing to compete in powerlifting and looks forward to cheering on his teammates.

For more on this and other great stories, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.