The curtain rises on the Trofeo CONI 2022. Malagò: “Symbolically important”. Bach to youngsters: “I hope to see you all at the Olympics”


Not even the bad weather could dampen the opening of the seventh edition of the Trofeo CONI. The Sports Hall at Chianciano Terme, home to the opening ceremony of Italy’s top Under-14s sports event – relocated from the “Mario Maccari” Municipal Stadium due to adverse weather conditions – sprang to life with the opening of the 2022 edition of the CONI event, bringing over 3,100 athletes, in the 10-14 age group, to Tuscany and over 800 coaches and their entourages, representing 23 regional teams (including those from the Italian communities of Canada and Switzerland) who paraded in the Sports Hall in Chianciano, recommencing a story interrupted in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the stands were the CONI President, Giovanni Malagò, the President of the Organising Committee and the head of CONI Tuscany, Simone Cardullo, the President of the Region of Tuscany, Eugenio Giani, the President of the Union of Municipalities of Valdichiana Senese, Giacomo Grazi, and the Mayors of the Union, institutional partners of the event, starting with Andrea Marchetti, the Mayor of Chianciano Terme – also the venue hosting the closing ceremony on Saturday, October 1 – and the Mayor of Montepulciano, Michele Angiolini. In the gallery were also numerous representatives of Italian sport, including the CONI Vice President, Claudia Giordani and members of the CONI Board and National Council, Federal Presidents and Regional Committees. The anthem was sung by the tenor and former rugby player, Denis Dallan.

The event’s motto “Live your Dream” epitomises the allure of the five rings – sentiments expressed also in the video message from IOC President Thomas Bach, who greeted the young champions. “Dear Olympic friends, the best of luck for your participation in the Trofeo CONI”, declared the German Olympian. “I wish you the best and I hope you will enjoy these days of sport to the fullest with friends from all over Italy and I’d like to thank CONI for going ahead with this great initiative in the true Olympic spirit. Have fun and I hope that one day we will see you as athletes at the Olympic Games. Ciao!”.

“I am very pleased to be here after a two-year absence in which Covid hampered us so much”, said President Malagò, “I wish to thank the President of the Tuscany Region, the President of CONI Tuscany and all the mayors of the Union. Today is something symbolically important. A history that they have tried to take away from us. The IOC President’s message expressed his desire to see you fulfil your dreams and become part of the Olympic family. This is the spirit you should adopt over these two days, while also having fun. The country loves us very much, CONI is Italy and sport unites us. To the young people I say, ‘Have fun!’”.

“Thank you President for having faith in Tuscany”, said the Regional President, Cardullo. “This event, besides being part of the preparatory path for future champions, is a special moment of growth and coming together. We are very sorry that we could not use the stadium because we would have liked to let all the youngsters savour the atmosphere. We hope to be able to do so for the closing ceremony”.

“We are honoured to have the Trofeo CONI in Tuscany”, emphasised President Giani, “It is the prologue to what Malagò has wanted since his election: to resume the Youth Games. I remember that the gold medal-winning athletes at the Olympics made winning the Youth Games their first aim. We have got to get back to that. Tuscany has a strong sporting tradition; it is one of the values of our community. Seeing so many young people here is a source of great pride and satisfaction. Sport is a key factor in the upbringing of young people, combining identity and life perspective in physical activity. Sport holds out hope to younger generations".

“It is really thrilling to enter this building packed with so many athletes and companions”, stated Mayor Angiolini. “A warm welcome to everyone to our area, which you will be able to appreciate for all that makes it unique. Sport and wellness is a winning combination, accompanying Valdichiana Senese through its post-Covid recovery".

“Valdichiana Senese is a widespread municipality. We hope you feel at ease here”, added the President of the Union of Municipalities of Valdichiana Senese, Grazi. “We offer you our local area, from its cuisine to its art, and we hope you can come back here to visit”.

“Welcome to everyone”, was the greeting from Mayor Marchetti. “As Valdichiana we are collectively living our dream. We hope to be able to live up to expectations”, 

Also on stage was the Trophy’s ambassador, Alice Volpi, Olympic and World Championship medallist in foil, who will be in Chiusi tomorrow to commentate on the competitions in her discipline for Italia Team TV, as well as Carlo Molfetta, Olympic taekwondo champion. The two Olympians accompanied two young athletes for the classic Olympic oath. Also present on stage was the former Italian cricketer, Kelum Perera, representing the CONI National Technical Commission.

“It's really a pleasure to be among so many sportsmen and women. I’m in my Tuscany and I couldn’t miss out on it”, declared the Italian fencer. “It's really nice to see all these young people together having fun and getting to know each other. It’s a good glimpse into the future, I wish you all the best of luck”.
“These youngsters are beginning to understand what the sacrifice of sport means”, highlighted Molfetta. “I hope they never give up in their sporting careers”. 
“I tell young people that sport helps them with their place in the world and I tell them to never give up”, added Perera. “On the other hand I tell the coaches to guide these youngsters whilst not forgetting sport’s values and ethics”. Malagò and Cardullo then officially declared the 2022 Trophy open, with the flame carried by an athlete from twirling who lit the Olympic cauldron.