Ukraine's Oleksii Zakharov has been named as the World Games Athlete of the Month for September ©IWGA

Ukraine's Oleksii Zakharov, newly-established world champion in surface finswimming, has been named as the World Games Athlete of the Month for September.

Zakharov has negotiated huge challenges in recent years.

In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, all finswimming competitions were cancelled.

When competitions resumed the Ukrainian, then 20, made his mark at the World Cup event in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy in March 2021, setting a world record of 2min 55.57sec in the 400 metres surface event.

Less than a year later, however, came the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But Zakharov managed to continue training and at the World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, he earned fifth and sixth places in surface finswimming events.

Last month his career hit another peak as he won gold in the surface 150m at the Finswimming Open Water World Championships in Belgrade.

In 2025, he plans to try again to win medals at The World Games when they take place at Chengdu in China.

As the World Games Athlete of the Month, Zakharov will receive a diploma and a branded gift.