The Associazione Velabili flies to Berlin for the Special Olympics World Games

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The Associazione Velabili flies to Berlin for the Special Olympics World Games

15 June 2023

Commitment, dedication and passion are the ingredients that allowed the athletes of the Associazione Velabili of Lugano (CH) to qualify for the Special Olympics World Games 2023, which will be held in Berlin from 15 to 25 June.

As part of the inclusive sailing initiatives of the project Sailing into the Future. Together, IBSA continues to support the Circolo Velico Lago di Lugano – which hosts the Associazione Velabili – for activities intended for people with cognitive disabilities. The organisation has a fleet of RS Venture Connect SCSSs and Hansa 303s, onboard of which people with disabilities, coached by qualified skippers, can try their hand at preparatory regattas for national and international competitions.

The commitment of the last few months has earned Velabili the qualification for the Summer World Games in Berlin, the world’s largest inclusive sporting event, where thousands of athletes with cognitive disabilities compete in 26 different disciplines. As for sailing, two teams from the Lugano club will compete with others 33 teams from all over the world

One hundred ninety delegations, 7,000 athletes – accompanied by 20,000 volunteers – and 9 days of competitions: these are the numbers of this unique experience dedicated to sporting commitment and sociality.

The opening ceremony will be held on June 17 at 8:15 pm, when – one at a time – the delegations will enter the Olympic Stadium in the German capital to parade all together, representing their nations.

For the third year we participate in this type of Olympics, but somehow it’s always like the first time”, commented Boris Keller, President of the Associazione Velabili. “Being on a such an internationally prominent stage has a strong impact on our kids. On the one hand it confirms the sporting evolution of these athletes, who are constantly reaching new goals, and on the other it promotes a strong human growth while having a unique and emotional experience”.

To fully get into the spirit of the event, all the competing teams have arrived in Germany a few days in advance, and the delegation of each country has been welcomed in specially created Olympic villages, in various German cities. Switzerland and Velabili are hosted in Karlsruhe, in southern Germany, where the teams train and complete the regattas of the “divisioning” session – a procedure, specific to the Special Olympics, for assigning a category to each athlete according to their performance, so as to ensure fair competitions.

Competitiveness is very high and heartfelt: June 23, 24 and 25 are the days of the official competitions, with a calendar of 4 trials per day which, once added up, will decide the winners.

We will passionately follow the Velabili’s adventure in Berlin, while rooting for them, of course!

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