“Nothing about us, without us!”, this statement used by the Independent Living Movement for disabled persons, best sums up this extraordinary story of people and sport.
“Integrated rugby born in Wales during the ’90, to include people with Learning Disabilities – says Enrico Colzani president of Chivasso Rugby where about thirty players play together – From there the experience has expanded across Europe, reaching us”. The club was founded in 2010 as the first Italian rugby club specifically thought for the mixed ability game.
The founders were friends, fellow team mates, and they were able to put together a team of disabled and non-disabled players of all ages, in order to train and socialize with each others and the parents.
They took a few pictures, run projects in schools, did a lot of phone calls to day and care services and, looking for support, got in touch with the other realities across the Channel.
“Actually the more established realities were in England and Wales, and for that reason we decided to work with them – carries on Colzani – Since 2012 we have been promoting the creation of a international network which could gather similar teams together, to share experiences and ideas, and that ultimately led to ARI (Ability Rugby International) as a platform which can keep the guys actively involved in all the aspects of the game”.
“Teams so distant geographically found themselves united in promoting a shared project – says Martino Corazza, vice president of the club who has been living and working in England for two years now, as a responsible for an European project and plays for the Bumbles – Mixed Ability rugby is rugby for all, real rugby, with the same rules used by the All Blacks!”.
From 17th until 21st of August the first Mixed Ability Rugby World Tournament will take place in Bradford, including teams coming from all over Europe.
“For us this is already a win – conclude Colzani and Corazza – and it’s tangible our player’s satisfaction in being able to represent Italy in this special International event”.
(La Stampa, 16th January 2015, by G. Giacomino)