One thousand athletes, 41 events, 11 regions: Special Olympics Italy's recent Volley Week was quite an event for all involved! But for one athlete in particular, Francesco Alipede, Volley Week reinforced a determination to follow his dreams - all the way to the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019!
Not only is Francesco an athlete - he's also a passionate volleyball fan. And watching one of his favourite teams in action in Celle during Volley Week has spurred his own game on.
Francesco says, "The team we cheered for are part of Celle Varazze Volley. They are very courageous: watching them made me want to commit to becoming as good as they are and to winning a Special Olympics final in the future."
Francesco will have the opportunity to demonstrate this determination when he competes in the World Games next year. He says, "I'm so proud to be competing, and I'm committed to being smart, independent and focused on the ball. I've dreamed of this opportunity for a lifetime!"