The young stars of fair play shine at the XXVII edition of the Fair Play Menarini International Award
Since 1997, the Fair Play Menarini International Award has been dedicated to promoting ethics, fairness, respect for rules and opponents, and the unequivocal rejection of all forms of abuse and discrimination. This prestigious award aims to recognize the highest value in the realm of sports: fair play in its various manifestations.
Now in its XXVII edition, the Award has progressively gained relevance and became a prominent event in the landscape of sports culture. It shines a spotlight on exceptional athletes who have built their careers upon the firm principles of fair play and transformed their competitive journeys into exemplary models of life, serving as a source of inspiration for younger generations.
Significantly, the latest edition has placed a special emphasis precisely on the younger generation. This is accomplished through the inclusion of the Fair Play Menarini Award “Young Athletes” Category, specifically designed to highlight the budding talents of the sporting world. Beyond their remarkable achievements in competition, these young athletes have distinguished themselves through commendable acts of fair play. They serve as true ambassadors of fair play, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
The jury of the Fair Play Menarini Award also sought to acknowledge the younger generation of athletes, those who embody the passion of daily training and nurture dreams, perhaps inspired by the exemplary conduct of champions who have etched their names in the annals of their respective disciplines.
With this intention, the newly established award has provided Mariaclotilde Adosini, Emilia Rossatti, and Giorgio Pietro Torrisi with a platform to reward their commendable actions.
These three aspiring athletes, exemplars of fairness, were presented with the Fair Play Award in the “Young Athletes” category for 2023. The award ceremony took place during a press conference held on June 19 at the Salone d’Onore in Rome, hosted by CONI.
“I am deeply moved to receive this recognition, especially because I did not anticipate such a response after my actions. I am thrilled that it has garnered a positive reception,” expressed fencer Mariaclotilde Adosini. She further elaborated, “During the under-20 World Cup, I made an assault that saw an error by the referee, resulting in an additional point in my favor. Despite the oversight, I was given the choice to continue and claim victory for the assault or return to the platform and resume from the point of the mistake. I chose the latter, opting to restart the competition, which was ultimately won by my opponent.“
Similar to Mariaclotilde Adosini, Emilia Rossatti also possesses a deep passion for fencing. Representing the Bernardi Academy in Ferrara, she, like her counterpart from Polisportiva Scherma Bergamo, displayed an exemplary act of sportsmanship.
“Receiving such a prestigious award is an immense honor not just for me but for Italian fencing as a whole,” Emilia Rossatti said. She proceeded to recount the events, stating, “During the Italian under-23 championship, I was competing against my opponent and friend Gaia Traditi when she sustained an injury. At that moment, I made the decision to abstain from further actions, freezing the result. As a result, Gaia became the Italian champion and secured a spot in the European Championships. I also participated in the same competition, and together we achieved the team bronze medal.“
Equally remarkable is the story of Giorgio Pietro Torrisi, a young promising karate athlete from Sicily. At only 10 years old, in 2019, he showcased extraordinary fair play: upon realizing a scoring error that had wrongly declared him the winner in his category at the International Edukarate in Aci Castello, the young karateka and his family personally traveled to Siracusa to return the medal to the rightful runner-up.
In this critical period of history, as we witness the growth of the younger generation, these narratives carry immense significance. Sport holds the power to change the world, and the increasing awareness among the youth regarding the true essence of sportsmanship signifies a promising future. The three recipients of the award symbolize the vibrant community of young individuals who tirelessly strive, work, and achieve remarkable results each day.
The Fair Play Menarini International, however, didn’t solely focus on commendable acts of altruism. It also upheld its educational mission by recognizing individuals who excel in both high-level sports and academics, striking a balance between the two.
This year’s Fiamme Gialle “Study and Sport” Special Award, presented to Gianluca Gensini on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, once again highlighted the combination of competitive sports and scholarly pursuits.
In 2022, the talented swimmer from Florence participated in the Youth Swimming Criteria while also earning a high school diploma with top honors.
“The key to success is sacrifice,” explained Gensini. “Many times, due to rigorous training, I had to study in the evenings. However, I never saw it as a problem; quite the opposite. Having a tight schedule allowed me to eliminate downtime and make the best use of my time for both academics and swimming.“
Established in collaboration with the CONI Regional Committee of Tuscany and the Fiamme Gialle Sports Groups, this award grants Gensini the opportunity to train at the Guardia di Finanza Sports Center in Castelporziano, along with the other two finalists for the Fiamme Gialle “Study and Sport” Special Award: Serena Masi, a high jump specialist, and swimmer Niccolò Lucchi.
Drawing from his personal experience, Niccolò Lucchi provides valuable insight for his peers, stating, “Aerospace engineering and distance swimming are two activities that can be harmonized. It primarily depends on the athlete’s ability to strike a balance, as it is not always easy. I firmly believe that with dedication and passion, these two pursuits can go hand in hand.“
The stories of these young athletes underscore that sports should not be seen as an impediment to academic pursuits: their unwavering commitment to training serves as a catalyst for achieving excellence both in sports and in the classroom.