The Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, welcomed today in Palazzo Chigi a delegation of the women's national volleyball team that earned the fourth place in the Volleyball Women's World Championship held last month in Italy. Along with the athletes and their coach, Marco Bonitta, the meeting was attended by the President of CONI, Giovanni Malagò, and the President of the Italian Volleyball Federation, Carlo Magri, the Secretary-General of CONI, Roberto Fabbricini, and the Deputy Secretary-General, Carlo Mornati.
"I would like to thank you on behalf of the whole country, you made us all proud, and even if you didn't earn a medal, that we hope you'll earn the next time, you attained another medal: the medal of affection, gratitude and emotion". These were the first words that the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, addressed to the attending women athletes: Sara Bonifacio, Paola Cardullo, Cristina Chirichella, Valentina Diouf, Paola Egonu, Raphaela Folie, Ofelia Malinov, Noemi Signorile and the captain, Francesca Piccinini.
"I would also like to say to the President of CONI that if our dreams on the future of sport in Italy will become a reality, I think that a great share of the merit should be attributed to volleyball and to these girl's skills", added Matteo Renzi addressing President Malagò.
The Prime Minister, during his short speech directed to the delegation, expressed his "gratitude for the extraordinary performance during the World Championship". "Watching these girls play was a great thrill – he continued – Usually, we have this kind of speech after a victory, but the main message that got across was about the outstanding beauty of an ever-growing performance. Unfortunately, the semi-finals did not go well, but that's the way sport is. Nevertheless, Bonitta did impart great motivation".
"You broke a taboo, debunked the myth that you can only be a winner if you obtain a medal – said President Malagò – I understand your regret in not taking the podium, but we'll see it as our target in view of Rio 2016".