Brno will once again host the Summer European Youth Games for the disabled Emil Open. Disabled athletes aged 10 to 26 will compete on Brno sports grounds from 22nd June to sports 26th June. They will measure their strength in 7 sports and more than 30 disciplines. The unique Emil Open project will take place for the 11th time.
The summer European Youth Games for the disabled Emil Open will bring a full week of sport and fun. The Games are open to athletes with all types of disabilities aged 10 to 26. Athletes will compete for valuable metals in seven sports and in OPEN and MIXED categories. Together with their entourage, 884 participants from 16 countries of Europe will head to Brno (Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and the largest group from the Czech Republic). „We are planning to organise competitions in athletics, swimming, table tennis, boccia and bocce, which is an activity similar to the game of pétanque, and for the first time this year in archery and cycling,“ says Pavel Zbožínek, the president of the organising committee Emil Open.
The winner of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo will also arrive
A number of successful Paralympians will be among the ambassadors, including boccia representative Adam Peška, who won the most valuable metal at the 2021 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo and who started at Emil Open. „The Emil foundation helped me a lot, thanks to them I was able to buy balls and a ramp. I used to compete in Brno at Emil Open, I really liked it and I love to remember it. I believe that all athletes will take away beautiful experiences from this year’s event as well,“ says Adam Peška.
Because it is a sport and social meeting of young people, the games will also offer a rich programme. The organisers will start the event on 22nd June with an opening ceremony which will include flag bearers as well as presentations of Brno sports clubs and non-profit organisations. The traditional Face to Face show with Jan Kraus will also take place. Sports competitions will start the next day. „Sports competitions will be attended by children and youth who are just starting or have not done any sport yet as well as medalists from top competitions for the disabled. Apart from that, the public will have the opportunity to try out activities for the disabled,“ says Zbožínek.
Unfortunately, this year’s games were also marked by a sad event. „After a two-year pandemic and last year’s tornado, we are dealing with the aftermath of the worst. 46 Ukrainian participants signed up for Emil Open before the outbreak of the war. We managed to bring nearly 30 of them to Brno immediately after the outbreak of the conflict, the rest of them contacted us from different parts of Europe just now with the wish to participate in the Games. We are now preparing a week-long training camp for them,“ says the president of Emil Open.
The Games are entering their second decade this year
This year is the 11th year of this unique project that is organised by the Emil Sports Association founded by Emil Foundation. The event is financially supported by the City of Brno and the South Moravian Region. „I think that the athletes have a lot to look forward to. Disabled youth will experience the atmosphere of a top sports event but in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Last years, including this one, have not been easy for any of us and Emil Open gives us the opportunity to forget all our worries and let ourselves be carried away by the joy of movement,“ says the Mayor of Brno Markéta Vaňková.
So far, seven regions have supported this year’s event by contributing to the accommodation and meals of their participants. Permanent partner to the Games is the Faculty of Sports Studies of Masaryk University which also acts as an expert guarantor to the sports part of Emil Open and the municipal company SAKO Brno which became the general partner for this year.
The goal of the Games is to give athletes with disabilities the pleasure of free movement. „Thanks to the Games, young athletes with disabilities get the opportunity to do sports with mainstream youth, they make new friends and they contribute to eliminating unnecessary prejudices and mutual shyness together,“ says Zbožínek.