Diana Dymchenko, Women's Single Sculls, Ukraine, 2021 World Rowing Cup III, Sabaudia, Italy / World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell
The Ukrainian Para Rowing and Canoe/Kayak Teams in Paris, with Remi Gaspard of the Fédération française de canoë-kayak 

UPDATE : 5 April 2022
World Rowing, in coordination with the International Canoe Federation (ICF), has helped to relocate the Ukrainian Para Rowing and Canoe/Kayak teams. Arriving in Paris, France, yesterday, the teams will continue onto the training centre in Nancy, France, today. They will be split across accommodations, but will receive full board at the training centre. Equipment will be coordinated upon their arrival. 

Almost a month after the start of the war in Ukraine, more than three million citizens have left the country, looking for safety abroad. Countries to the west are opening their borders and arms to help those fleeing their homeland, and countries further afield are sending supplies and aid.

World Rowing launched a GoFundMe page last week, to help the Ukrainian Rowing team, some of whom are still in their country, and others who are elsewhere, unsure if and when they will be able to return home. World Rowing is in regular contact with the Ukrainian Rowing Federation, as well as a number of member federations who are providing help, to allocate the support and will report on the allocations of the funds raised. In the first instance, funds will be directed to the provision of basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing.

Many members of the team were on a training camp in Turkey when the war broke out. “Now we are looking for a training base for further training until the hostilities in Ukraine end.” a spokesperson for the Para team told World Rowing.  “Athletes are psychologically tired, but with training we can get distracted. Some athletes keep their phones with them to keep in touch with their families. The most difficult thing is for those whose relatives and friends are in the war zone. We constantly communicate and try to support each other during this incredibly difficult time.”



Igor Khmara competed in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls in Tokyo this past summer with partner Stanislav Kovalov, where they finished 9th. Igor also took part in the World Rowing Coastal Championships this fall in Oeiras, Portugal.

Igor, his teammate, and their coach, left on a training camp on February 22nd, in Belmeken, Bulgaria. They awoke to news of the war back home on the 24th.  “At that time I just couldn’t do anything in training, I was worried about them”. The Bulgarian Rowing Federation stepped up to give them food and lend equipment. A friend of Igor’s, and fellow international rower, Boris Yotov, is helping them rent a house in the area where they can live and continue their training.

Igor Khmara (b), Stanislav Kovalov (s), Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls, Ukraine, Finals, Podium, 2021 World Rowing European Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta, Varese, Italy – photo Detlev Seyb / Myrowingphoto.com



Olena Buryak has competed on the international scene since 2009, winning gold in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships. From 2015 until 2021, she held the Women’s 2k record on the Concept2 erg, a blazing fast 6:22.8.

Olena is from the Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv. She left her house on February 25th, after the first explosions there. With her family they fled to Western Ukraine, but decided to go abroad on the 27th when there were warnings issued for the area they were staying in. Her husband stayed behind in Kyiv to protect Ukrainian freedom.

Today, she is staying with Maciej Zawojski and Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska in Warsaw, Poland.  Olena and Agnieszka have competed against each other for many years in the W4x, and stood on the podium together. But they never really spoke just as friends, says Olena. When the war began, Agnieszka and Maciej invited Olena and her family to “just come”.

Olena Buryak, Women’s Quadruple Sculls, Ukraine; 2018 European Rowing Championships, Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom



Anna Sheremet stepped onto the international rowing scene in 2018, at only 16 years old, and found success quite quickly. Since then, she has been on the podium multiple times, and recently finished 4th in the A-Final of the PR1 Women’s Single Sculls at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

From the city of Dnipro, Anna was on a training camp with many of her teammates when the war broke out. While safe abroad, she does not know when she will be able to return to her normal life, and worries about her family back home.

Anna Sheremet, Ukraine, Birgit Skarstein, Norway, PR1 Women’s Single Sculls, 2019 World Rowing Cup II, Poznan, Poland



Roman Polianskyi is the current World, European, and Paralympic Champion in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull.  He is from the Ukrainian city of Donbass, and went over to Odessa when the war started.

Roman was with the Ukrainian team on their training camp in Turkey, but had to return home at the end of January due to family matters. Planning to return to join them in March, he never got the chance, and is currently still in Ukraine.

Correction 26 March 2022: Roman has been able to relocate to Poland, where he has been since mid-march.

Roman Polianskyi, PR1 Men’s Single Sculls, Ukraine, 2020 Paralympic Games Regatta, Tokyo, Japan / World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell


World Rowing is in regular contact with the Ukrainian Rowing team, to allocate the funds raised, and provide support as we move forward.

Please consider joining World Rowing’s efforts in supporting the Ukrainian Rowing Federation and its athletes in these difficult times: