Paintball fun in Europe’s most fought-over city

  • Paintball fun in Europe’s most fought-over city
Issue 13, May 2009.

International festival of cutting-edge visual arts Nightlife hotspot celebrates a dozen years!

Lviv has long been at the centre of the geopolitical tug of war that has seen Ukraine become one of the most fought-over lands in the entire world, so it comes as no surprise that the city has a rich tradition of guerrilla military activities, with the fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army of WWII among the most revered of the city’s historical figures. However, in modern Lviv there is no longer a strong paramilitary presence, but the art of shooting on sight has not been lost, with the extreme sport of paintball fast gaining an enthusiastic local following.
Today there are a number of Lviv venues offering paintball activities to corporate and private parties. Teams are invited to spend their time splattering one another with coloured paintballs fired from air guns that look distressingly similar to genuine automatic weapons. The sport of paintball actually dates back to American in the time of the Cold  War, but its initial invention had little to do with training soldiers up to face the communist menace. In reality, the first paintball gun was designed in 1980 for the very practical purpose of marking trees and livestock at the convenience of farmers and foresters.
This initial invention proved popular and within a year the first ever paintball competition was held in America’s New Hampshire region, which is known for its attractive forests and outdoors mentality. After going from strength to strength throughout the 1980s in America, the fledgling sport of paintball went international in the early 1990s, and quickly caught on among the wreckage of the former Soviet empire in the latter half of the 1990s, appealing as it did to the sense of macho gun culture which was then rampant throughout the former USSR.

World’s third most popular extreme sport
Today paintball is considered to be the third most popular extreme sport in the world and can be played in over 60 countries, where federations have been established and national events are regularly held. Unsurprisingly, Lviv has not been left behind by this growth and remains a focus of the Ukrainian paintball scene. Much like elsewhere in the world, games are generally played on specially designed zones complete with all sorts of obstacles which will offer cover for fire, including industrial-sized tires and blocks of timber. Competition can get quite heated during the game itself, but luckily nobody is likely to leave the area with any lasting injuries, so there is little danger of it leading to any long-running antagonism. Those looking to participate in the fun of paintball should be careful to make sure that they wear only clothing which they do not mind seeing ruined by the sport, as regardless of the protective equipment provided by clubs, the splattering paint from expended balls tends to get everywhere. The most important safety message is that  all players should always make sure that they never remove their face guards while in the field of play – even during break periods it is not unheard of for a stray paintball to strike a player and leave them with facial injuries, or, at worst, with impaired sight.
The physical risk of participating is minimal, and all you can really expect to receive are a few bruises from particularly close range shots, so this is a sport in which all can participate, regardless of individual sporting prowess.

Chornohora Paintball Club
10, Glyboka str., Lviv
Tel.: + 38 032 2385740,
+38 067 7847190

Extreme Balls Paintball Club
24, Gorbachevskogo str.,
Tel.: + 38 066-7722221,

Balls Paintball Club
Tel.: + 38 067 4289436,
+38 093 7039725