The countdown has just begun. One hundred days to go until the start of the Universiade Napoli 2019, from 3rd to 14th July. Some Neapolitan champions such as Patrizio Oliva, Pino Porzio, Gianni Maddaloni and Vincenzo Boni, who have spent most of their careers collecting victories and podiums (including Olympic Games, World Cup and European Championships) sent their invitation. Sandro Cuomo, who won the gold medal in Atlanta Olympics 1996 and partecipated in the University Games in Edmonton 36 years ago, launched his message too: “It is a big international event that represents an opportunity to relaunch the whole territory. I am sure that fencing, as so often happens, will give great satisfaction”. The former water polo champion Pino Porzio with 47 titles won as a player and coach during his career, was one of the five Settebello Neapolitans players who bewitched the world during the Barcelona Olympics 1992. He joined his colleagues and said: “See Naples and live better, winning here is different. Naples is a special, magical and ideal place for those who want to follow an important sporting event like the Universiade and enjoy a unique holiday among Neapolitans, who are renowned to be hospitable and kind as few in the world”. But in addition to the image of Naples and Campania and the unique opportunity to regenerate the local sports facilities, there is the sporting side: The competition.
Gianni Maddaloni, Pino’s father and coach, judo gold medal in Sydney Olympics 2000, highlighted the weight of victory in a big international event: “Sport is sacrifice, sweat and rules. Not only for the athlete, but also for a family, for a whole country. And then, as often occurs, Universiade cranks out athletes who will triumph at the Olympics and at the World Championships”. And there is much more than the competitions and the medal collection. “With sport and events of this caliber, all kinds of ethnic and political barriers are torn down. There are no social fences ,” explained Vincenzo Boni, bronze medalist (50 meters backstroke S3) in Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, three years ago. “Every obstacle breaks down in the relationship between populations, with athletes from countries at war who shake hands, or eat together in the Village. Extraordinary emotions we will experience also in Naples”.