Embracing inclusivity and team spirit: Volpi Rosse Menarini ready to impress once again
The stage is set for the Volpi Rosse Menarini as they kick off their third season in the Italian Serie A wheelchair basketball championship on Saturday, October 21.
The official presentation of the new team of athletes took place at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, with anticipation building ahead of the upcoming competitions.
Following Marco Bergna’s time as coach, the team will now be under the guidance of Coach Fabio Castellucci, who brings his experience as the former head coach for Italy’s Under 22 team and as an assistant coach for the national team.
Their opening league match will see the Florence team against the reigning Italian champions, Amicacci Giulianova. It’s a challenging but invigorating start to a journey for a team that’s never been this young, as Coach Castellucci highlights.
“We’ve taken a gamble. We’re the youngest team in the Italian Serie A. We recognize the potential of our athletes and are thrilled to have international talents like Camilo Van Trijp and champion Jitske Visser from the Netherlands joining us in Florence, ready to help their new teammates grow.“
This competitive season also includes participation in the European event Eurocup 3, which the Volpi Rossi Menarini managed to secure last year. Starting on March 6-7, this international venture has made the community proud, without losing sight of the project’s core objective: to champion values of equity and participation.
During the team’s presentation press conference, Cosimo Guccione, the Florence City Councilor for Sport, emphasized this: “We are always thrilled to be part of our city’s sports team presentations. Today, we have a special reason to celebrate – the Volpi Rosse Menarini. We stand firmly beside them, offering our support, and we invite the entire city to rally behind this team, which is not only representing Florence in Serie A but also across Europe in Eurocup 3. Today, we’re sending a message that proves nothing is impossible. In situations like these, sports serve as some of the finest examples of how, with courage and determination, obstacles can be overcome. I extend my gratitude to Menarini, who has been a dedicated supporter of this project for years. To the team, the staff, and all those who collaborate and lend their support: you are Florence’s pride.”
The club was officially established in 2005 and holds the distinction of being Tuscany’s very first wheelchair basketball team. Under the leadership of President Ivano Nuti, this association stands as a shining example of integrating disabled individuals, showcasing passion, talent, and unwavering determination. These are the very qualities their athletes demonstrate in every game they play.
Captain Samuele Cini stressed the importance of teamwork, saying, “Being there for your teammates is crucial in team sports.” He briefly shared his athletic journey, stating, “I started playing in 2009 and have always pushed myself to live life to the fullest. Joining this team has been life-changing, not just physically but mentally. Sports benefit all people, especially us. We’ve come a long way; we began as a junior team with only a few players, and now we’re in Serie A. We’re proud of our achievements, but we’re not resting on our laurels; we’re looking ahead.“
Menarini, as the title sponsor, has been a steadfast supporter since 2011, backing this virtuous project built on deep human values.
“With this wonderful project, we’ve been championing the fundamental values of sports, inclusivity, and independence that are also at the core of Menarini,” said Lucia and Alberto Giovanni Aleotti, shareholders and members of the Menarini Board. “Go, Volpi Rosse!“
Below is the list of players who will participate in the Italian National Serie A Fipic (Italian Wheelchair Basketball Federation) Championship and the IBWF Europe competitions:
Jitske Visser, Riccardo Innocenti, Samuele Cini, Niccolò Bartoloni, Mehran Hosseini, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Kevin Giustino, Cosimo Caiazzo, Lorenzo Bassoli, Miguel Pinto Reis, Salim Chakir, Bilal Oujedid, Mattia Scandolaro, Giacomo Garavello, Francesco Marotta, Camilo Van Trijp.
Watch the gallery of the press conference:
President Ivano Nuti
Valeria Speroni Cardi, Global Director of Press and Media Relations Menarini, and Ivano Nuti
Cosimo Guccione, Councillor for Sports
Team Captain Samuele Cini, Valeria Speroni Cardi and Cosimo Guccione
Volpi Rosse Menarini with Ivano Nuti, Valeria Speroni Cardi and Cosimo Guccione
Volpi Rosse Menarini