‘The world didn’t care enough’: Ukrainian climber’s journey from Crimea to Olympic chance

<div><p>From a dynasty of Ukrainian climbers, Jenya Kazbekova was displaced by war but now she is determined to reach Paris</p><p>Three years after Russia had occupied Crimea, the Ukrainian climber Jenya Kazbekova returned to her “favourite place in the world” and achieved a personal best route on its rocks. The crux of her challenge that day in 2017 lay not in scaling the peaceful, sun-drenched cliff, but far below. “I closed my eyes to what really bothered me – Russian guns, flags, currency,” she says. This summer, she aims to reach Paris and climb against the odds for Ukraine once more, after injury, illness and Covid-19 ended her Tokyo dream – and Putin’s full invasion became a living nightmare, forcing the rest of her family to flee to Britain.</p><p>Kazbekova’s connection to climbing and Crimea spans three generations. “It was as natural as walking – I don’t remember ever <em>not</em> climbing. It’s just part of me,” says the 27-year-old from Dnipro. On frequent family holidays to the Crimean peninsula, her father taught her how to fall safely, turning trepidation into joy: “It was a big lesson in working through fear.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sport/article/2024/may/28/the-world-didnt-care-enough-a-ukrainian-climbers-journey-from-crimeas-cliffs-to-an-olympic-chance">Continue reading...</a></div>

From a dynasty of Ukrainian climbers, Jenya Kazbekova was displaced by war but now she is determined to reach Paris

Three years after Russia had occupied Crimea, the Ukrainian climber Jenya Kazbekova returned to her “favourite place in the world” and achieved a personal best route on its rocks. The crux of her challenge that day in 2017 lay not in scaling the peaceful, sun-drenched cliff, but far below. “I closed my eyes to what really bothered me – Russian guns, flags, currency,” she says. This summer, she aims to reach Paris and climb against the odds for Ukraine once more, after injury, illness and Covid-19 ended her Tokyo dream – and Putin’s full invasion became a living nightmare, forcing the rest of her family to flee to Britain.

Kazbekova’s connection to climbing and Crimea spans three generations. “It was as natural as walking – I don’t remember ever not climbing. It’s just part of me,” says the 27-year-old from Dnipro. On frequent family holidays to the Crimean peninsula, her father taught her how to fall safely, turning trepidation into joy: “It was a big lesson in working through fear.”

Continue reading…

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From a dynasty of Ukrainian climbers, Jenya Kazbekova was displaced by war but now she is determined to reach Paris

Three years after Russia had occupied Crimea, the Ukrainian climber Jenya Kazbekova returned to her “favourite place in the world” and achieved a personal best route on its rocks. The crux of her challenge that day in 2017 lay not in scaling the peaceful, sun-drenched cliff, but far below. “I closed my eyes to what really bothered me – Russian guns, flags, currency,” she says. This summer, she aims to reach Paris and climb against the odds for Ukraine once more, after injury, illness and Covid-19 ended her Tokyo dream – and Putin’s full invasion became a living nightmare, forcing the rest of her family to flee to Britain.

Kazbekova’s connection to climbing and Crimea spans three generations. “It was as natural as walking – I don’t remember ever not climbing. It’s just part of me,” says the 27-year-old from Dnipro. On frequent family holidays to the Crimean peninsula, her father taught her how to fall safely, turning trepidation into joy: “It was a big lesson in working through fear.”

Continue reading…


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Author: Natalie Berry

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