Casteddu4Special at “Campioni di vita”

Rossoblù World - 12/03/2024

The Casteddu4Special project was the protagonist today at Cagliari’s Teatro Massimo for the fifth and final stage of the 2024 edition of ‘Campioni di vita’, an event conceived by RG in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo, dedicated to high school students from all over Italy with the aim of promoting sport and inclusion, turning the spotlight on the values underlying the individual and collective growth of young people. On stage three great ambassadors of Olympic and Paralympic sport: Andrea Lucchetta, Oney Tapia and Oxana Corso.

A moment of great importance and emotion was, in fact, the one dedicated to the testimony of Silvio Tolu, one of the faces and protagonists of Casteddu4Special, a project born in 2018 and founded on principles of collaboration, discipline and above all inclusion, which has found impetus and lifeblood in Cagliari Calcio’s focus on social issues. The game as a primary means of integration, participating in a championship reserved for athletes with disabilities promoted by the FIGC and the Paralympic and Experimental Football Division.

Casteddu4special is continuously developing in terms of numbers and activities, in Sardinia and beyond. Throughout the season, Cagliari Calcio’s technical managers monitor and supervise the sporting activities and all Paralympic team training. The Casteddu4Special coaches participate in technical training sessions, managed and moderated by the Youth Sector managers, which also involve testimonials and former prominent red-blue players in the Club’s history.

During the event, the red-blue project was discussed, also giving space to images of the joint training sessions with the red-blue youth teams and meetings with the staff and the first team group (in the photo the joint training session of the Casteddu4Special with the U17 team).

“Being part of Casteddu4Special is a huge thrill, a great stimulus to improve every day,’ says Silvio Tolu. ‘I love sport and football in particular, I’ve been playing it since I was a child, and I always set myself many goals together with the teammates with whom I share the various adventures on and off the field. Training, preparing, dreaming, giving everything, these are the primary and fundamental ingredients to take satisfaction. Cagliari Calcio allows us to wear a prestigious jersey, with a history of over a hundred years that must be respected and honoured: we can be in contact with top-level coaches and champions, something wonderful and fulfilling for all of us”.

Two key words characterised the event: Sport and Inclusion, i.e. how sporting competition can turn into an educational value. A message intended mainly for the new generations that focuses on respect for the rules and characteristics of other people, integration, aggregation, trust, and passion: raising awareness of disability issues, thanks also to the testimony of sportsmen and women who have positively rewritten their life story. The experience and contact with these ambassadors of sport and life gave the youngsters an insight into what it really takes to win and succeed. Talent alone is not always enough to achieve those victories that go beyond a medal or a trophy: they are true rebirths.

The morning saw the dialogue and direct involvement of the students, who were called upon to participate and get involved in the first person through a fun edu-quiz, simple and engaging questions related to financial education content that they could answer from the comfort of their smartphones via the Kahoot app.

After the first moment of participation by young people, skilfully involved by volleyball legend Andrea Lucchetta, attention turned to the world-class Paralympic athlete Oney Tapia, bronze medallist at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in the shot put and discus throw for the visually impaired.

‘Whatever sporting discipline one chooses to practise, out of passion or predisposition,’ explained Andrea Lucchetta, ‘what counts is always being able to live it with lightness and fun, respecting oneself and others. It takes commitment, determination, passion, but above all respect for one’s own life and that of others, which is expressed in the ability to be inclusive in diversity. Sport teaches precisely this, to be a loyal person and respect your teammate as well as your opponent’.

‘Sport,’ Oney Tapia said, ‘has always helped me to feel more balanced, to be stronger and more independent in every challenge I face. After the accident that caused me to lose my sight, I turned on a new light in my life and decided to do so by following my greatest passion: sport. Each of us has a hidden talent that often tends to remain hidden: tenacity. With willpower and optimism you can get anywhere, even if you encounter big and difficult obstacles, and you must not be afraid to tell your story with authenticity’.

“It is never easy to achieve the goals we set ourselves,’ said Oxana Corso, sprinter, world silver medallist in the 100 and 200 metres at the London Paralympics and world record holder in the 400 metres sprint, who was present at the other stages of the tour. ‘Through my personal experience I can assure you that believing in yourself, having a dream, makes everything easier, even achieving unhoped-for victories. Never feel different: in the end, if you think about it, we are different from who? Actually from no one real, just from the idea we have of what we would like to be, and it is only our own fault if we let ourselves be influenced by the thought of ‘perfection’ that each of us demands of ourselves. It takes courage and determination. The rest will come.”

“In Cagliari we conclude a journey that has seen us stage after stage alongside Campioni di Vita: an experience that has enriched us all. We were able to experience first-hand how inclusive sport can be engaging and a source of motivation. The enthusiasm of the young people at the Teatro Massimo repaid us for this long journey across Italy,” commented Stefano Cappellari, Intesa Sanpaolo’s Regional Director for Northern Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Sardinia. “Our Group is in the front line in supporting the new generations, both through the promotion of universal sporting values and through economic-financial education initiatives, thanks in particular to the activities of the Savings Museum. Our aim is to provide useful reference points for a full and active citizenship. In Sardinia, we are also particularly proud of the results of Per Merito, Intesa Sanpaolo’s loan on honour to finance studies, and of the Giovani&Lavoro programme, which have enabled many girls and boys to realise an educational and work project”.

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