Ukraine's six-time Para-taekwondo world champion Vika Marchuk has added another award to her impressive résumé after receiving the prestigious Merited Master of Sport rank.
The honour is the highest in the post-Soviet sporting world and only bestowed to international champions who have made valuable contributions to their sport.
In Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries, the Unified Sports Classification system recognises the successes of athletes and coaches at regional, national, and international events.
Marchuk is the first Para-taekwondo athlete in any country to receive the award.
She was already a recipient of the Master of Sport rank - the system’s second-highest honour.
In addition to six world crowns, Marchuk has won five European titles and many other international competitions.
Ranked number one in the women’s under-49 kilograms K43 division, Marchuk has not lost a fight since the introduction of rankings in 2016.
In 2019, Marchuk won all seven of her events, including adding a record-setting sixth world title and fifth European crown.
Marchuk also set the record for most points scored and biggest margin of victory with a 72-2 semi-final win at the 2019 European Championship - the last time she fought.
There is little left for the Ukrainian star to accomplish except for adding a Paralympic medal to her glittering haul.
Marchuk will look to do that next summer when the sport makes its Paralympic debut at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020.
She is due to be seeded number three at the Games, where she will face competition from Mongolia’s K44 world champion Enkhtuya Khurelbaatar and Turkey’s second-ranked K44 athlete Meryem Betul Cavdar.
A statement from World Taekwondo read: "Regardless of her result at Para-taekwondo’s Paralympic debut, Marchuk has already blazed a pioneering trail in the sport.
"Her storied career and contributions to the development of the sport in Ukraine are what prompted the Ukrainian Government to introduce its most prestigious sports award in the sport of Para-taekwondo for the first time."
Marchuk is set to receive a special pin or badge as well as an official diploma with a unique serial number at a special ceremony hosted by the Ukrainian Government.
In a separate decision, World Taekwondo said Marchuk’s local authority had pledged to provide the fighter - who was abandoned as an infant - with her own apartment.