26 September 2017

The first Paralympic Centre in Italy was launched in the Italian capital in the presence of Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Italian Paralympic Committee president Luca Pancalli, and CONI president Giovanni Malagò.

Nearly 60 years after the Rome Olympics, that are considered as the first Paralympic Games, Minister of Sport Luca Lotti, Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi, and Governor of the Lazio Region Nicola Zingaretti, as well as athletes and supporters joined the celebrations.

“Thanks to the combination of science, medicine, sport and work, today the Paralympic Citadel is another milestone” Malagò commented while revealing his dream  – a unique and united sport.

“I remember the day the first stone was laid, over ten years ago. When I was elected president I used two words to describe Paralympic sport: equal and dignity. I wish that one day my successor and the one of Pancalli can be one person in a joint body. And just like this centre, the Acetosa Sport Complex must be open and accessible to everyone.

“The successes of your athletes have shown that a dream can be achieved. Paralympic sport enriches the civilization of our country, ” said the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella.

The “Paralympic Preparatory Centre” will be the only sports centre dedicated to the practice and promotion of sport for those with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities, but open to everyone without barriers.

Sports, including tennis, torball and goalball ( special blind disciplines) football, swimming, fencing, athletics, table tennis, and modern dance will soon be welcomed in the Centre. To date, there are swimming pools, athletics tracks, an office building and dressing rooms, tennis and football fields. A multipurpose building and a guesthouse with 96 beds are planned. Exhibitions, events, internships and internships for schools and universities are also planned, to “seek a more complete integration of people with or without disabilities”.

In the coming months a team of ambassadors consisting of 50 athletes will undertake a trip to schools, medical centres and spinal units to spread Paralympic sport, recruit athletes, those of the future, and finally “normalise” this sport niche – as IPC chair Luca Pancalli would say.