10-year-old Ukrainian karate ‘star’ dies after Russian bombardment
Farzad Youshanlou
July 10, 2024

The devastating war launched by the Russian army against Ukraine in February 2022 has not only inflicted heavy human casualties and irreparable damage to the Ukrainian people, but has also targeted Ukraine’s sports infrastructure. According to statistics released by the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee and the National Statistical Office, more than 450 Ukrainian athletes of various ages and levels have died at the hands of the Russian military. The latest, a promising 10-year-old Ukrainian Karate player, Maksym Symaniuk, who had already attracted the interest of one of the best clubs in Kiev and the Ukrainian Karate Federation (who has made his death public).

A heartbreaking report following the bombing of Kiev on Monday, July 8 by the Ukrainian National Karate Federation has left everyone in mourning. Maksym Symaniuk, the promising ten-year-old who trained at the Kyiv Karate Club, was killed along with his nine-year-old sister and their mother in the Russian shelling.

Volodymyr Boiev, Maksym’s coach at the Kyiv Karate Club, told SportsIn: “Maksym was a bright child. He had good sportsmanship and was a hard worker. He had sporting ambitions, which once interested me as a coach. But, unfortunately, Maksym’s life ended very soon.”


Although the International Olympic Committee condemned the Russian and Belarusian invasion of Ukraine and banned both countries from participating in the Olympic Games, the World Karate Federation was slow to act in the same way. It was not until March 9, 2022, following protests by Jaanus Rahumägi, then president of the Estonian Karate Federation, and repeated appeals by the Ukrainian National Karate Federation, that the WKF banned the Russian and Belarusian Karate Federations from participating in competitions. However, the statement issued by the WKF did not condemn Russia’s military aggression.

Russia’s military aggression has been widely condemned by major international sports federations, including the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Both organizations have excluded Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions. Russian appeals to the IOC decisions and subsequent legal challenges to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have been unsuccessful. Ultimately, Russian athletes who have not participated in the war are allowed to compete as neutrals in world and Olympic events.

The murdered athletes include such well-known figures as Serhii Balanchuk, a Dynamo Kiev soccer player who also played in the Israeli soccer league; Serhii Pronvych, a marathon runner; Victoria Kotlyarova, a 30-year-old soccer player murdered the day after her wedding who played in the women’s soccer league; Fedir Yepifanov, an 18-year-old fencer; also Oleksandr Pielieshenko, a weightlifter who finished fourth at Rio 2016 and was a two-time European champion.

Latest News