For the sixth time, young disabled athletes will meet in Brno for the European Youth Games for the Disabled, with more than 440 athletes taking part in five sporting events. "It is definitely a benefit for South Moravia that the European Youth Games for the Disabled are held in Brno," said Bohumil Simek, Governor of the South Moravian Region.
"I am very glad that the City of Brno can support the event organized by the Emil Foundation, which is doing a huge amount of work to support the development of the disabled personality, which is important," added Petr Vokral, Mayor of Brno.
City and region representatives agreed at the press conference: For the general public, the European Youth Games for the Disabled should be an example of how people with disabilities can cope with adversity. "All people racing here can see the toughness and endurance that many healthy people lack, so they can learn how to behave," added Simek.
Their words were also supported by Jan Bartosek, vice-chairman of Czech Government. "There is no bigger fight than a duel in overcoming itself, much more when a person has a handicap. At the European Youth Games for the Disabled, I feel especially sympathetic to the fact that these are not a professional games, but it can also be attended by those who are not professional athletes, "said Bartošek.
What have other guests told at the press conference?
Jiri Jezek, six-time Paralympic champion in cycling
We know how important it is to support children in sport, so they are able to compete. The biggest reward is when we see how children play with enthusiasm. I am convinced that when they have the opportunity to compete, they do not feel their disability at that moment. Sport has helped me to find friends and happiness. I do not think that a mission of these games is to look for new successful Paralympians, but I believe that at least one of these athletes, who will compete in Brno, will stay in sport environment and may once become a model for others. Everyone needs some idol and inspiration.
Arnost Petracek, Paralympic Champion in swimming
European games remind me smaller Paralympic Games - they have an opening and closing ceremony, athletes can meet each other, exchange experiences. I look forward to motivate swimmers to get to the Paralympic Games one day.
Ashley Harris, a golf player from the UK
My first impressions from Brno are really positive. The Golf Resort is very nice and I am glad that thanks to the Emil Foundation, I have an opportunity to promote golf as a sport suitable for the disabled.
Vaclav Krasa: Disabled people have the same joy of success as healthy ones
Among the guests of the European Youth Games for the Disabled was also the chairman of the National Council of Disabled in Czech Republic, Vaclav Krasa. This event, organized by the Emil Foundation, is considered to be extremely important.
Why should people come to see competitions of disabled athletes?
Because of them, healthy people will see that people with disabilities are able to do sport like others, have the same ambition as everyone else and the same joy of success and victory as others. That we are just the same people as the others, only we sometimes go wrong, we do not see, or we can not hear ...
Why is it important to support these actions?
Because they give a fair and accurate picture of people with disabilities, that we are not worried, we live a completely normal life, and sport belongs to our lives, the same as to other people and we can use it and enjoy it. I also think that thanks to sport we are getting new friendships, even falling in love.
Majorova: I applaud to all athletes
One of the partners of the European Youth Games for the Disabled is a company EPRIN s.r.o., who has started to cooperate with the Emil Foundation last year. And according to the Executive Director, Lotty Majorova, the company would like to continue with the support in future.
How important is your support for disabled athletes from your company point of view?
EPRIN Company has been on the market for more than 25 years and has always been a part of the company's strategy to support charity and good things. With the Emil Foundation, we have started a partnership last year, when we were a partner of the World Youth Games of the Disabled. We think there is a need not only to make a tough business, but also to look at communities like the Emil Foundation and other charities. In December 2016, we took part in Advent Markets with Emil and now we are a partner of European Games.
Do you already have a vision for further cooperation?
We clearly want to register as volunteers for Markets in Advent, but with a broader support. It means we do not want to be in a stand in the Green Market for four hours, but to occupy the whole day, deploy our entire team and help those who need it during the beautiful pre-Christmas time.
What is your personal relationship with disabled athletes?
I admire all athletes that despite their handicap, they have the strength, the ferocity and the energy, but also the humility, they go into it and deal with it. I applaud everyone.