Guns blazing, muscles flexing: bodyguards show off skills in Kiev

Bodyguards from six countries flex their muscles and show off their skills in international competition in Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

KIEV, UKRAINE (SEPTEMBER 19, 2015) (REUTERS) – Dozens of professional bodyguards, used to keeping a low profile while keeping their clients safe, have stepped out of the shadows to showcase their life-saving expertise at an international championship in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev.

As crowds cheered, bodyguards demonstrated their fast reaction times, hand-to-hand combat techniques and driving skills while performing some of the most difficult of their daily tasks – threat detection and attack prevention.

Servicemen from state security agencies took part in the championship organised by State Defence Service of Ukraine. The competition attracted teams from six countries – Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Sweden.

It is not the first competition of its kind. They became very popular in Ukraine as the country launched its anti-terrorist operation against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

“Any terrorist organisation takes aim at top officials – at the Commander in Chief, the leaders of the country – in order to create chaos, bring all the problems which exist in the east into the country and create a new front. And such challenges are our main job today,” Valery Heletey, chief of the State Defence Service of Ukraine, said.

Female bodyguards also participated in the competition and showed off skills in various fields such as close protection tactics, defensive driving and tactical shooting.

The tournament, held over four days, took place in Kiev and at a shooting range in the Kiev region, where participants could demonstrate their shooting skills.

As well as competitive challenges, those taking part also praised the event as a chance to share professional expertise.

“The value of our competition is that when gathering at world championships, everyone can assess the level of his training, compare it to others’, exchange experience, take something useful from it for himself and train again,” chief referee Vasily Vakulenko said.