FLORENCE, Italy, Oct. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Heart, passion, and the determination to overcome challenges. The Volpi Rosse Menarini are once again setting their sights on the hoop as they make their grand entrance at the prestigious Palazzo Vecchio. The wheelchair basketball team from the Tuscan capital is ready to start the National Serie A FIPIC (Italian Wheelchair Basketball Federation) Championship with renewed ambition. Founded in 2005 as the first wheelchair basketball team in Tuscany, Wheelchair Sport Florence is the kind of organisation where the integration of people with disabilities revolves around doing things together and setting an example with the passion, talent, and determination that its athletes exhibit in every game they play. Menarini, as the title sponsor, has been alongside this association since 2011. “These athletes making it to Serie A represent what it means to exceed one’s perceived limits,” stated Valeria Speroni Cardi, Menarini’s Communications Director. The pharmaceutical multinational has always been closely connected to the world of sports, as confirmed by its support for another wheelchair basketball team, Club Joventut Badalona, competing in the Spanish Serie A.
“Today, we are sending the message that nothing is impossible. In cases like these, sport is one of the best examples of how, with courage and persistence, determination and conviction, many obstacles can be overcome,” said Cosimo Guccione, the Councillor for Sport of the Municipality of Florence, representing the authorities. He then added: “I would like to thank Menarini, which has embraced this project for years and supports this reality. To the team, the staff, and everyone who collaborates and supports this: you are the pride of Florence.”
“We wanted to create a very young base of athletes who have yet to ‘blossom’ into top players, but have enormous potential,” explained Ivano Nuti, President of the Volpi Rosse Menarini. “The players we have this year were the strongest in the entire national youth pathway,” he added. The new coach, Fabio Castellucci, who previously served as the head coach for the Under-22 National Team, “will be an added value for the team, as nearly all of them have already worked with him while wearing the blue jersey.”
The Florentine team is the youngest in the championship, as confirmed by the age of most of the players who will be guided by coach Castellucci. “I am excited about this new experience. I am familiar with the team’s journey over these years, thanks to Menarini’s support because without them, none of this would be possible,” he said. Captain Samuele Cini, a player and a soon-to-be graduate student, said: “We are all-around athletes, and our main goal is to win. Clearly, this cannot be achieved without fun. We are a team of young men all of the same age. As captain, I often try to mediate, and in difficult moments, we help each other out.”
One of the new arrivals, Salim Chakir, finally conveyed a message to the many young people facing similar circumstances. “Believing in your own abilities and giving 100% will always lead you to achieve all your goals. This is the message we want to convey, a broader message that can apply to individuals facing challenges like us as well as non-disabled individuals,” concluded the young Florentine basketball player.
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