Wladimir Klitschko has claimed hosting Euro 2012 has highlighted Ukraine’s political problems rather than validating the ruling government.
The heavyweight world champion in four separate boxing organisations, Klitschko is one of Ukraine’s greatest athletes.
The 36-year-old has argued that Euro 2012 has brought more journalists to Ukraine and opened their eyes to his country’s issues.
The imprisonment of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has prompted a number of politicians to boycott the continental championships but Klitschko does not believe that is necessarily the best thing for Ukraine.
“There were so many statements about the detention of Yulia Tymoschenko because of the Euros,” Klitschko said.
“If there had been no Euros there would be just a few articles published about this violation of human rights.
“But because of the sports we also became aware of this political issue and human rights.”
Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year jail term for what has been regarded by the international political community as trumped-up charges amid ‘selective justice’.
A number of protest camps have been set up across Ukraine to ensure Tymoshenko’s struggle does not go unnoticed.