Weightlifting champ killed in Russia-Ukraine war

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Two-time European weightlifting champion Oleksandr Pielieshenko died on the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine war at age 30, the Ukrainian Olympic Committee said Monday.

Pielieshenko “died in the war with the enemy” on Sunday, the committee posted on Telegram.

The committee added that Pielieshenko had joined the armed forces in the early days of the invasion.

Pielieshenko ranked fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the men’s 85 kg category — missing a medal by five kilograms. He won gold at the sport‘s European championships in 2016 and 2017.

Pielieshenko was banned after a second doping violation in 2018.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that today the heart of the honored master of sports of Ukraine, two-time European weightlifting champion Oleksandr Pielieshenko, stopped beating,” the Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation said.

Added national coach Viktor Slobodianiuk: “War takes the best of us.. This is a very heavy loss for the entire weightlifting community of Ukraine. Heroes do not die.”

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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