A young resident who arrived in Abbots Langley with her family under the Homes for Ukraine scheme is set to compete in an international gymnastics competition later this month.
Vladislava, 10, known as Vlada, is one of Ukraine’s finest rhythmic gymnasts of her age. This month, Vlada is heading to Katowice, Poland, to compete against representatives from Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland in the Aurora 2022 Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship.
Vlada started dance at the age of two before beginning gymnastics at age five. She competed in December last year in Kharkiv, Ukraine, with the two planned tournaments since then – one in Dnipro, Ukraine, and the other in Italy – both cancelled due to the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war.
Vlada’s mother, Inna Cherkas, told ABBOTSnews: “She is very excited at the thought of competing again and is really looking forward to going to Poland and representing Ukraine in the five-country competition.
“Rhythmic gymnastics is a very big sport in Ukraine and every town has a club. She was always very flexible, and she was excited to do rhythmic gymnastics. She is amazing and everyone is so proud of her.”
The family were forced out of their home in Kharkiv earlier this year, travelling to England via a long train journey to Krakow and then taking a flight from there to Luton. Vlada’s father, Andrii, remains in Kharkiv, working as a mechanic repairing military and civilian vehicles.
Inna added: “We like Abbots Langley because people are polite, friendly, kind and very supportive. The school and supermarket have been so helpful. Of course, we want to go home as soon as it is safe, but we are happy to be in Abbots Langley.”