By Dhruv Munjal
ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) – Ukrainian biathlete Anastasiia Laletina was forced to withdraw from the middle-distance event at the Beijing Winter Paralympics on Tuesday after her father was captured by Russian forces, a spokesperson for the Ukraine’s Paralympic Committee told Reuters.
Laletina’s father is a soldier in the Ukrainian Army. The spokesman said he had no further details on her capture.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, which Moscow describes as a “special operation” to disarm the neighboring country, prompted the International Paralympic Committee to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Games.
Belarus has been a key area for Russian troops.
The spokesperson said Laletina, 19, was still in Zhangjiakou – the site of the cross-country skiing and biathlon events – and would fly to Poland with the rest of the delegation at the end of the Games.
Despite initial uncertainty surrounding its participation, Ukraine continued to collect medals at the Games on Wednesday by winning a silver and bronze in cross-country skiing. They are third in the table behind hosts China and Canada.
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