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Special Olympics Goes Beyond the Field of Play for Italy’s Aloisio and Enwereuzoh

“I wish to see more young people make themselves available to support us. I would like to see students and teachers come out because they learn to understand us and know that being together helps us to live more peacefully.”
Athlete posing for the camera while holding a medal and standing on the track
Grace Enwereuzoh looks to send a strong message of inclusion at World Games © SO Italy

With less than 50 days to go to the one of the biggest sporting extravaganzas in the world, Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, the excitement is palpable.

World Games have always been a great platform for athletes who are fighting for space, identity and more importantly acceptance among the masses.

When the curtains go up on the mega event in Berlin, be assured to see these athletes put their best foot forward, etch their own piece of history and send a strong message of hope through the medium of sports to people around the world.

Italy’s Grace Enwereuzoh, who will be competing in athletics, has used sports as the prime way to break her inhibitions.

“I was an introvert and playing sports on a platform as big as the Special Olympics World Games has helped me a lot. I'm not afraid to talk to people anymore,” says the 100-meter sprinter and long jumper.

Along with sport, music has also played a key role in giving Enwereuzoh much-needed support and confidence. She is a part of the ‘La Si Puo Fare’ Band comprising of boys and girls with disabilities.

“We do a lot of concerts, and it has helped me to be more independent. I have also learnt to manage things on my own from the travel I do to attend events and races,” said Enwereuzoh.

More than just winning a medal at the World Games, Enwereuzoh wants to send a strong message to fellow athletes to use everything in their power to overcome their limitations.

“Yes, we all are competing at the Games, but it is also about enjoying the time doing it. It is about using all our willpower to overcome our limitations. To me, this is not just a competition, all those competing are already winners,” said Enwereuzoh.

She also wants people to turn up in large numbers for the events in Berlin.

“I wish to see more young people make themselves available to support us. I would like to see students and teachers come out because they learn to understand us and know that being together helps us to live more peacefully.”

Enwereuzoh also has words of advice for establishments around the globe she would like to take Special Olympic more seriously.

“I would like governments around the world to support this movement because it gives us the opportunity through sport to show everyone that each of us have our own abilities. All we need is the opportunity to showcase them and support from all involved.”

Badminton player in action
Andrea Aloisio set to represent Italy in badminton at Berlin 2023 © SO Italy

Like Enwereuzoh, Andrea Aloisio is another youngster who will represent Italy at Berlin 2023. The 22-year-old will be leading the European nation’s challenge in badminton.

“It is a dream that I’ve had since childhood and participating at the Special Olympics World Games is going to be a unique emotional experience. It will be an honour to represent my country and a great opportunity to meet and get to know people from other nations. To compete with them will be special and I’m looking forward to it!” he said.

Aloisio’s journey to the World Games hasn’t been easy and he shares personal words about his fight against depression.

“Growing up my biggest issue was my struggle with depression. My issue is such that when I feel I’m excluded or cornered, then I feel depressed.”

“I find it hard to react and then I need to talk to someone to fight it out. Till today, I have the same issue, but I will keep fighting until I overcome depression and lack of self-confidence,” asserted Aloisio, who has found solace through sports – trying his hand at handball first before switching to badminton in 2015.

“Sports has made me stronger, and the experience has helped me to cope with things for the better. For the forthcoming World Games, my preparations have gone well despite struggling with recurring foot injuries. Currently, I’m in the best of shape for the competition and looking forward to the challenges which I expect to be very fascinating,” said Aloisio.


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