Russian aggression claims the life of Ukrainian weightlifting champion Oleksandr Pielieshenko

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The weightlifting community is reeling from the devastating news of Oleksandr Pielieshenko’s death. Pielieshenko was a two-time European champion and a proud representative of Ukraine at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The 30-year-old athlete heeded the call of duty and joined the military forces during the chaos of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, according to the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

“War takes the best of us… heroes do not die,” expressed Viktor Slobodianiuk, a respected weightlifting instructor and UWF board member, in a moving eulogy.

According to the UWF, Pielieshenko tragically died while serving on the front lines.

A doping scandal in 2018 led to a suspension from competition, tarnishing his legacy despite his athletic accomplishments, such as finishing fourth in the 85kg category at the Rio Games and winning the European championships in 2016 and 2017.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you that the heart of a merited master of sports of Ukraine… Oleksandr Pielieshenko has stopped beating today.”

The UWF announced the athlete’s death in a Facebook post, expressing their sorrow at the loss.

The Ukrainian sports community and beyond were deeply affected by the loss of Pielieshenko, and the federation offered its deepest condolences to his family and everyone who had the honor of knowing the late champion.

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