Bring institutions, the world of sports and young people into dialogue to tell the story of the value of major sporting events in the process of European integration. That was the goal of the debate “Sport Unites Europe,” held today at the Esperienza Europa – David Sassoli space in Rome. The event was sponsored by the EuroRoma 2024 Foundation, which is organizing the upcoming European Athletics Championships, in collaboration with the European Commission Representation in Italy and the European Parliament Office in Italy.
In front of a group of students and teachers from Liceo Ginnasio Torquato Tasso and Liceo Scientifico Paritario San Giovanni Battista, Vice-President of the European Parliament Pina Picierno, Director of the European Parliament Office in Italy Carlo Corazza, Head of the European Commission Representation in Italy Antonio Parenti, Director General of the EuroRoma 2024 Foundation Paolo Carito and Italian athlete Andrew Howe participated in the debate.
“Often when we think of European institutions we think of them as an agglomeration of bureaucracy living a detached existence from the plane of reality, but without the social, cultural and sports infrastructure every single action we take would be in vain. This is also why sports is one of our main areas of action also envisaged by the Lisbon Treaty, representing a vector for promoting the values of inclusion and active participation, spreading correct lifestyles. Organizing and hosting an international event such as the European Athletics Championships will allow Italy to start paths to raise awareness, especially among the younger generations, about the importance of physical and motor activity, precisely at a time when our country and most European countries are experiencing a worrying increase in sedentariness with serious effects on both physical and mental health. Bringing younger people into the sports system means ensuring their rights and emancipation, particularly in the most distressed geographical and urban areas, primarily in the South. The appointment in Rome will therefore be an opportunity to reconnect a piece of our country to sports and in particular to a historical discipline with wide penetration capacity like athletics,” said Pina Picierno.
Paolo Carito recounted the lead-up to the upcoming European Athletics Championships, scheduled for June 7-12, 2024, in Rome, emphasizing the adherence to the project of volunteers who will participate in the organization of the event. “About 25 percent of the requests we received came from countries outside Italy, and we are preparing to form an international team of young volunteers who will make a vital contribution to the success of the event. Also in the stands of the Olympic Stadium we expect the participation of many sports fans from all over Europe,” Carito explained.
Andrew Howe, European outdoor and indoor champion and vice-world champion in the long jump, recounted the different experiences he had during his glorious career and revealed his desire to participate in the next European Athletics Championships, when he will be 39 years old, to close his career in front of the home crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. “I have had the privilege of participating in many international events and winning gold twice at the European level. In athletics competitions there are no boundaries and you can compare yourself with so many kids from different backgrounds, but who have the same dreams and goals as you. Now I have to honor a promise I made to my mom: to close my career at the European Athletics Championships here in Rome, and I’m giving it my all to achieve that goal,” Howe said.