By Callum Burchett for Virtus
“After the last edition of this great sporting event, I left Australia tremendously impressed at the level of competition, and, most important, the performance of the athletes. We are delighted to see all three competition classes, II1, II2 and II3 classes to compete in this edition of Virtus Global Games. At the IPC, we are committed to working with Virtus and International federations to develop greater opportunities for athletes with an intellectual impairment to compete at the highest level in the Paralympic movement.
These were the words of Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, when the world sat down to witness the opening ceremony of the 2023 Global Games. The 2023 Games looks set to not only meet, but exceed those expectations – and provided a fantastic spectacle to the world. The opening ceremony on Sunday evening certainly demonstrated the potential of these games to provide that.
Held in the breath-taking Vichy Opera House, just off the banks of the Allier River in the heart of the city, Mr Parson’s speech as well as numerous other’s were delivered once over 900 elite athletes from forty-seven countries and their coaching staff had made their ceremonial parade. Winding its way through the streets of Vichy, the colourful and musical procession began outside the beautiful Mairie de Vichy Town Hall, and culminated at the top of the steps to the Opera House.
Among the esteemed guests present at the ceremony was Frederic Aquileira, the Mayor of Vichy. Known for his unwavering support for inclusivity in sports, Mayor Aquileira.
Between the speakers, they highlighted their excitement about the Global Games serving as the Paris 2024 qualifiers for Table Tennis and they hope the Winter Paralympic Games will open their doors to athletes with an intellectual impairment and that the words ‘Paralympic games’ will count for all sports and every sportsperson at any level in every country.
‘Madame le Minsitre Chargée des personnes en situation de handicap’ took the opportunity to share her vision for a more equitable sporting world. In her address to the audience, she emphasised the significance of the Global Games and expressed her hope for its recognition on a global scale.
Marc Truffeut, President of Virtus and LOC of GG2023 was delighted to host the Global Games after the pandemic. Talking about the athletes’ determination, he said,
“You (the athletes) are models for all of us. Your determination and sportsmanship are a source of inspiration for us, and you showed us that nothing is impossible when we believe in ourselves and commit to giving our best. I would like to thank everyone who has made this Global Games possible.”
“The Global Games is a celebration of diversity. They remind us that strength and talent know no limits. Every individual, regardless of their ability, can reach excellence.”
Livestream from the 2023 Global Games can be viewed from GG2023 TV