Hundreds of the best young Para athletes in Europe are gathering in Italy this week for the fourth European Para Youth Games. More than 600 Para athletes from 26 countries will compete in eight sports (Para athletics, boccia, 7-a-side football, goalball, judo, sailing, Para swimming and table tennis) from 10-15 October.
The venues are located in the cities of Savona and Genoa, where the Opening Ceremony takes place at Piazza Ferrari on Wednesday, 11 October. The action kicks off the day before with Denmark facing Great Britain in 7-a-side football on Tuesday (10 October).
Hosts Italy have the biggest delegation with 49 athletes, followed by Germany (43), Croatia (25) and Sweden (24). The Italians also have the youngest athlete in the Euro Games, 10-year-old tennis table player Matteo Parenzan.
“The European Para Youth Games highlights once again the mission of the Paralympic movement to try to change the perception towards people with impairment in our society. I hope our young athletes from the Italian Paralympic family can have a positive experience and cultivate the love for the sport they are pursuing,” said Italian Paralympic Committee president Luca Pancalli.
The European Para Youth Games are organised by the European Paralympic Committee in partnership with the Italian Paralympic Committee and the support of the Liguria Region government, the City of Genoa and the City of Savona.
“It will be an important week for Liguria, Genoa and Savona, this is a great time for sport [in the region]. It will show the value of sports also in terms of welfare and social inclusion,” said the president of the Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti.
The first and second edition of the European Games took place in Brno, Czech Republic, in 2011 and 2012. Varazdin, Croatia hosted the 2015 Games with 223 athletes from 22 countries competing in four sports. Spain topped the medals’ table with 61 medals.
The participating countries in the 2017 edition are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
More information can be found on the 2017 European Para Youth Games official website and Facebook page.