On Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October, the 1957 Merano Rugby Club organizes for the first time in Europe “International Rugby FestivalThese are two days of sports, meetings, challenges and fun, where the Dragons, the hosts, will host 5 English teams and 5 Italian teams made up entirely of young people of different abilities in the sports complex of the city of Merano in the province of Venice. Today, a round table was organized dedicated to the presentation of the project Dragon’s Challege, where certificates of inclusion in sport and first-hand experiences of coaches, teams and health professionals will be exchanged. wooden spoon associationA prestigious British charity that funds projects to support children and youth with disabilities. Instead, on Saturday, the rugby teams will take to the field, having taken part in a true Olympic parade.
The teams that will participate in the festival will be: English Bristol Bears, Sale Sharks, Shropshire Rebels, Stockport All Stars, Witney Wolves and Italian Dragons, Capitolina, Roma, Grifoni, Oderzo (Tv), Mine Vaganti, Mestre + Lupastri, Mira (Ve), Yellow zebras from Silea (Tv), Roccia Rubano (Pd).
The Dragon’s Challenge project was born in Merano from the idea of a rugby team of young players with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, developmental delays and learning disabilities. Backed by the foundational values that rugby is firmly rooted in, the Dragon Challenge project provides boys and girls with the opportunity to engage in a growth context. A project of great social and educational value, born of Jeremy Bristow’s experience with “Whitney’s wolves”, famous in England for the remarkable results achieved. Dragon Boys follows a team of teachers formed by Bristo himself, who now lives in Merano and personally pursues the project.
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In addition to the boys and girls of the rugby brand, the festival will also be attended by coaches, professional players, educators, doctors, psychotherapists and parents, who will be able to tell and share their story. In fact, the benefits of this project were extraordinary not only for the children but also for their families. “Sport is medicine for everyone, not only for those who have difficulties but also for those around them. This project aims to become a reference point for other sports clubs across Europe and around the worldCommentary by rugby chief Merano 1957 Stefano Seppin.
to share International Wooden Spoon ClubChildren’s Charity Rugby Association. Wooden Spoon funds life-changing projects to support children and young people with disabilities or living in disadvantaged circumstances in the UK and Ireland. This is why the Merano rugby team’s participation is such a source of pride.
In fact, we are talking about a rugby club with 65 years of history, active in social and educational development with a pool area starting from under 5 up to the first big team. There are many inclusion activities implemented by Merano Rugby”Rugby as a life school, a goal for growth”, a project to include healthy individuals with Down Syndrome (a project that lasted for 10 years) was followed by Dr. Silvia Vianello, Head of the Psychological Educational District of the Veneto Rugby Region. Committee, as well as the Psychological Educational Director of Merano Rugby. Bristow.
Jeremy Bristow’s career as a rugby coach for children with disabilities began in 2008 when a teammate in Oxford, UK, asked him to mediate with acquaintances within the Whitney rugby team club, and left him on the field, his son. James, who suffers from Down syndrome, which allows him to experience the thrill of throwing a ball on the field. At the time, Henry Lamb, Jeremy’s brother-in-law, was a player on the Whitney rugby team, and shortly thereafter Jeremy and James found themselves on the main rugby field at Whitney Rugby Club, throwing a rugby ball with the support of Henry Lamb.
From the sentiment of that day, Jeremy began dreaming of forming a rugby team that would attract people like James. Although he had no experience as a coach, it was instinct and determination that drove him. Thanks to James’ dream of playing on the rugby court, Jeremy Bristow created “Witney Wolves”, an English team made up of boys of different abilities and today includes 35 players, boys and girls who face their own “challenges” every day. In 2017, after a visit to the Whitney Club by his friend and well-known cartoonist Giorgio Cavazzano from Merano, the idea was born to expand Jeremy’s project also in Italy, in Venice.
Thus the Dragon Project was born. Jeremy chose to move to Merano and, in collaboration with Stefano Sepin, president of today’s Merano 1957 rugby club, created the first Italian team made up entirely of children with disabilities: The Drangons. Thanks to his commitment and the results obtained through these projects, Jeremi Bristoe has received numerous awards including the prestigious award, in 2015, being awarded as Head Coach of the Tag Rugby SEN (Special Educational Needs) team in Witney at the All Party Parliamentary Premiership Group Rugby Community Rugby Awards Westminster. Received a Community Champion Award as someone who has used rugby as a tool to effect meaningful social change, to support their community. James was by his side that day.
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