Udine, 2 Nov 2017 – The race for the 2018 Powerchair Hockey World Championships starts at Dacia Arena. After having displayed the World Cup in the presence of national and international authorities, the Udinese’s top scorer Kevin Lasagna has drawn the groups that will form the first part of the competition. It has been a memorable evening for the national teams delegations there, which had also the opportunity to be hosted in one of the best Italian stadiums.
The delegations mentioned were coming from Lignano, where an international tournament is going on, and were welcomed together with the international federations representatives at the Dacia Arena, offering them the possibility to tour the Friulian stadium from an uncommon point of view. This long lasting moment has been captured with a picture on the field where ones of the most remarkable football athletes struggle for victory every Sunday.
After a “walk about” of the stadium and after introducing to the audience both Michele Pittacolo, Paralympic cycling champion, and Kevin Lasagna, top scorer of Udinese Football Club, the press conference to display the World Cup has been opened by Franco Collavono, the Club’s General Manager, who declared himself honoured to kick-start this major competition exactly at Dacia Arena. Thereafter Furio Honsell, mayor of Udine, took the floor highlighting the role of sport as a way for a collective development, both individual and societal, and as a crucial tool for inclusion.
Francesco Tonizzo, anchor-man of the soiree, moderated the interventions by the national and international federal representatives. Fabio Rodo, president of the IWAS PowerChair Hockey – the leading federation – welcomed the audience, giving then the floor to the Italian Wheelchair Hockey Federation chairman, Antonio Spinelli: «I want to thank the Udinese Football Club for what they have just make: to offer this scarf by laying it on our neck is a gesture of friendship to me. I hope you will continue to follow us and the A league’s players will come watching our champions and a spectacular sport». Afterward Stefano Occhialini, the Local Organizing Committee President, concluded the greetings, proud of the work done so far.
The climax was reached after the competition display, when the drawing ceremony occured. The Drawing Ceremony gone live on Udinese TV and had Udinese’s player Kevin Lasagna as a special guest. He had the honour to draw the national teams to compose the groups of the World Cup. Nevertheless the ceremony left a sour taste, in fact, if the top scorer’s kick is magic, you cannot say the same about his hand. As a matter of fact, Lasagna pooled a very strong round for Italy, which will face the defending champion Holland, the new entry United States (for the first time in an international competition) and the well-established Switzerland in the Group A. On the other hand, Group B will be made up by the deputy champion Belgium, the outlying Australia, followed by Denmark and Germany. Kevin Lasagna has then concluded the evening with a promise: «I really admire your strength, you got me into and I promise you I will come watch you next year, I will come to support Italy!»
The World Cup Organizing Committee was proud of the positive ending of the soiree and about seeing their sport hosted in such an important scenario for the first time. Moreover, it took the chance to appeal the audience: «We hope getting you curious and that you will be willing to participate to this large event. We are searching for sponsorships, volunteers and fans for a World Cup that is going to make the history of powerchair hockey as something never seen before! We will be waiting in Lignano since the 24th of September until the 1st of October 2018 to make you experience unforgettable emotions!» ended Benedetta De Cecco, communication and marketing manager of the Organizing Committee.