Stanislav Horuna's Olympic bronze medal could be returned by the auction winner ©Ukrainian Karate Federation

Ukrainian karate star Stanislav Horuna's Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medal could be returned to him after he auctioned off the prized possession to raise funds to support the nation’s efforts to repel Russia’s invasion.

Horuna won bronze in the men’s under-75 kilograms kumite event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last year.

The Ukrainian Karate Federation announced earlier this month that the medal would return to Japan, after a Japanese national won an auction held by Horuna on eBay.

The auction raised $20,500 (£16,300/€19,400), which Horuna said would be put towards supporting Ukraine’s military, hospitals and evacuation efforts.

Horuna told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that he had since been contacted by the winner of the auction, who has pledged to return to bronze medal when the war ends.

"I am [already] grateful to him," Horuna said.

"The proceeds will go to the military, hospitals and other facilities assisting evacuees in Ukraine.

"What is important now is not my own affairs, but those involving our homeland.

"Each person must fight in their own way.

"After sorting out my priorities, I found it was not so difficult to come to the decision to sell it."

Horuna is among the Ukrainian athletes to have halted their sporting careers to help defend the nation from Russia’s invasion, which began in February.

The karate star had joined a military unit in Lviv.

He was permitted to resume his karate training in March.

Horuna was named World Games Athlete of the Month for March, with the International World Games Association (IWGA) pledging its support to Ukraine.

Horuna has qualified for the Birmingham 2022 World Games, where local organisers as well as the IWGA have vowed to work to ensure Ukrainian athletes can compete.

A share of Birmingham 2022 ticket and merchandise revenue will also be donated to Ukraine relief efforts, it is promised.

Horuna won under-75kg gold at the 2017 World Games in Wrocław and is also the reigning European champion.

The World Games will not feature athletes from Russia and Belarus this year after they were banned over the war in Ukraine, which the United Nations says has resulted in the deaths of at least 2,899 civilains.

The true figure is believed to be far higher.