“Too smart” to compete. The one of Luca Venturelli, 18-year-old athlete and autistic champion originally from Bellaria-Igea Marina (Rimini), it is the story of a dream that risks being stopped by international legislation that prevents him from participating in competitions outside the Italian borders.
Corriere Romagna talks about it, with an interview with the young champion, member of the blue club and rising star of athletics, with two titles behind him in the 800 and 1,500 meters and also in the recent Championships in Padua. On his social media profiles, Luca wrote: “This period has been very difficult for me. My path in Paralympic athletics has been stopped and I will not be able to participate in the next European championships and in any case I will not be able to compete outside Italy due to my IQ over 75 “.
News that Luca’s mother, Cristiana Delmonteshe says she arrived as “a cold shower when drawing up the classifications for the certification of access to cross-border competitions”, with the prospect of participating in the European Championships and Paralympics in Paris 2024. A hard blow for the athlete from Romagna , champion of the Italian Federation of Athletics and Fispes, who always wrote on social media: “Very often autistic people have very high IQs, but this does not mean that they do not have difficulties in many areas: social, verbal, absorbing, sensory and in autonomy. The intellectual IQ does not represent us. On our part there is the maximum understanding but also in the autism spectrum there are many variables and perhaps we could draw up a separate classification “he concluded.
“I am convinced that in Luca’s category, therefore of intellectual-relational disabilities, there are still big steps to be taken“, adds the technical delegate for Emilia-Romagna of the Italian Paralympic and Experimental Sports Federation (Fispes) Marco Simoni, to ANSA. “Not only are there limitations for participation, such as the IQ, but children with this type of disability who also fall within the canons of the International Federation, can only do four races at the Paralympics, namely 400, 1,500, the long jump and shot put, “he explains. “We turned to some lawyers, also going to Rome to speak with Sandrino Porru, the president of Luca’s Paralympic Federation – his mother says again – All support his aspirations but have their hands tied: he can only compete in national competitions” .
Luca’s historic coach also regrets the news, Elena Borghesi, who says he saw him grow, along with his passion for athletics. “From an early age, Luca has always put his soul into every training”, he confides. “Whatever you told him to do, he did it, without ever complaining, for him it was all feasible and so every year he improved his performance. Training him was a gift for me.” “That of the Paralympics was his dream of him – he concludes – but if the criteria remain those of now, unfortunately he has clipped wings”. (HANDLE).