K1 Matosinhos / Stanislav Horuna : ”I spent the first month of the war in a military base »

The miracle did not occur at the Karate 1 in Matosinhos. Or rather yes. Stanislav Horuna was indeed present in Portugal, which is already a success in itself regarding the war in Ukraine.

But, on the tatami, the Olympic bronze medalist (-75 kg) did not have his usual vista, his fabulous sense of timing or his supersonic speed. Under normal conditions, he would have made short work of Saudi Alzharani and Turkish Akhurt whom he faced in round robin.

There must be only one left and it wasn’t him. Stanislav Horuna lost 1-0 against the 1st one and drew against the 2nd (3-3). ”I felt like an old man on the mat,” he said after his elimination with a smile, his 3-year-old son in his arms.

For the Ukrainian champion, the important thing was not the sport performance in Matosinhos although, obviously, he still hoped to achieve a result. But he knew his karate was not at its best. ”Karate, in these times, is not just about sport, it’s about mental health. When you have the opportunity to do what you used to do, to get back to your habit and part of your normal life, it gives you some confidence and gets the stress away”.

Since February 24th, as for all Ukrainians, his life has been turned upside down with the Russian invasion. “I spent the first month of the war in a military base. We patrolled days and nights. I was going home to sleep and take a shower. Then I was going back to the base. When the situation was better controlled by our army, I patrolled less, once or twice a week. So I was able to devote time to training. But that wasn’t enough to get me back in shape, especially after a month spent in a military base, where I was doing nothing, I wasn’t sleeping and I wasn’t eating properly, I was stressed all the time…”.

Between 2 training sessions, ”Stan” got involved in volunteering. He raises funds and takes care of refugees from the central and eastern regions. ”I try to find everything they need.” To do this, he even auctioned his Olympic medal. A Japanese man bought it for 20,500 Dollars. “I was surprised of the amount. I did not expect that. In addition, the Japanese who bought it promised to invite me to Japan at the end of the war and to give it back to me”, he smiles, impressed by this act.

So, inevitably, in these circumstances, Karate is not a priority but it was important for him to participate in this Karate 1. “To distract me. In Matosinhos, I think less

about all these horrors that are happening in Ukraine”.

But also to see his wife and son again, whom he has not seen for 2 months. They are refugees in Budapest thanks to one of his friends who provided them with an apartment.

This weekend, they are in Portugal to the delight and relief of Stanislav Horuna. ”It’s the first time they come to see me in competition,” he smiles. His son was so happy to see his dad again that he did not leave him for a second, even during interviews. « Stan » is going to stay with them for a short week, to make the most of his little family. He does not know when he will see them again next time.

“Afterwards, I will return to Lviv, to continue doing what I am doing”. Helping others and protecting his country, but also trying to train for the upcoming events, the European championships at the end of May in Turkey and the World Games in July in the United States, where he aims to shine, as usual. But, for now, he doesn’t know… ”I always avoid making predictions. The 2nd phase of the war has started. If we succeed in defending the Donbass region, we will win this war”. Stan can then resume his normal life as a champion.

Text by Ludovic Mauchien, Karate-K.com.

Photo by Karatepixglobal.

Also read previous articles with Stanislav:

Stanislav Horuna won a historic Olympic bronze medal.
Stanislav Horuna shows gold form before the Olympics!
Stanislavs road to OS 2020 in Tokyo.
Stanislav Horuna – Världens farligaste advokat.
Stanislav Horuna vann ett historiskt OS-brons
EM-hjälten Stanislav Horuna visar storform inför OS!

Ludovic Mauchien

Ludovic Mauchien is a professional journalist since 1995. Graduated from the CUEJ of Strasbourg, one of the historical schools of the profession, he learnt his job in prestigious daily newspaper : Sud Ouest, La Nouvelle Republique, Le Parisien, L’Equipe. In parallel to his Karate practice, he has been covering Karate since 1997 as a special correspondent for various newspapers and magazines.

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