The large-scale invasion of Ukraine disrupted the peaceful flow of life for millions of our compatriots. In the first days after the war began, the Elina Svitolina Foundation focused its efforts on helping young Ukrainian tennis players forced to go abroad.
When the issue of saving lives was removed from the program, another problem arose – how to resume sports activities so as not to lose skills due to a forced break in training. Realizing the importance of regular exercise, the foundation started an outreach program, Tennis for Refugees, where sportsmen between the ages of 10 and 20 participated.
“It was hard for me to concentrate on the game after the big military action started,” remembers Elina Svitolina. – I thought about people who were refugees and how I could help them. The decision came instantly: I had to take care of young sportsmen, create conditions so that in this difficult time they could continue to follow their chosen path”.
During the first two months, when the girls and boys were adapting to life in other countries, in temporary homes, they were under the full care of the Elina Svitolina Foundation, which paid for their accommodation, food, training and provided the necessary equipment. The sportsmen trained at tennis academies and centers in France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. In particular – in such famous institutions as Elite Tennis Center, All In Tennis Academy, Paris RG (France), Piatti Tennis Center (Italy), TC Empire (Slovakia) and others.
“We are grateful to all partners and sponsors of the Foundation who have made the Tennis for Refugees program possible,” says Anna Popovchenko, director of the Foundation. – Its budget to date is more than 65 thousand euros. At the moment the Foundation is developing new programs and projects which we will inform about later. We work for Ukraine and with faith in our victory”.
The Foundation is grateful to its partner – the leading sports management agency Top Five Management, specializing in tennis. The agency’s specialists took part in the daily work of the Elina Svitolina Foundation and were involved in finding the best solutions for Ukrainian sportsmen.
Thanks to the partnership between the foundation and Nike, young tennis players received the necessary professional equipment – clothes and sneakers – for their training.
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