Inaugural Virtus European Winter Games Declared Open In Zakopane, Poland

The first-ever Virtus European Winter Games commenced today in the picturesque city of Zakopane, Poland, hailed as the ‘winter capital’ and a haven for skiing enthusiasts. Athletes from Italy, Australia, Sweden, Turkiye, Poland, France, Austria, USA, Portugal, Spain, Finland and Japan will be competing at the games.

In attendance were esteemed figures such as the President of Polish Paralympic Committee- Łukasz Szeliga,Chairman of the Town City Council of Zakopane- Jan Gluc, Founder and Honorary President of Sprawni-Razem, Zenon Jaszczur, President of Sprawni-Razem- Dariusz Mosakowski, Virtus President- Marc Truffaut and the Virtus governing board members along with the delegates from the competition nations.

President Szeliga expressed his appreciation for the event, emphasizing the potential for closer collaboration between Virtus and the Paralympic movement.

“This is a historic event, and I hope the relationship between Virtus and the Paralympic movement grows, leading to more such events.

President of Polish Paralympic Committee- Łukasz Szeliga (L) and Chairman of the Town City Council of Zakopane- Jan Gluc (R)

He also encouraged athletes, highlighting the ethos of the Paralympic movement.

Remember that the most important thing is that you embody the idea of the Paralympic movement, that impossible doesn’t exist.”

The festivities were enhanced by a captivating performance by the Klimki younger Group, showcasing regional folk dance.

Klimki younger Group performaing at Zakopane 2024

Virtus President Truffaut commended the organizing committee for their remarkable efforts,

This event is very important as it’s the first Winter European Games, marking a historic moment for Virtus. It signifies our commitment to greater inclusion in the Paralympic movement and Winter Paralympic Games.

Extending a warm welcome to the elite skiers with intellectual impairment returning to Zakopane after six years, the President of the Local Organizing Committee, Sprawni-Razem, Dariusz Mosakowski, expressed his heartfelt sentiments, saying,

‘I warmly welcome all the athletes and delegates back to our city, Zakopane. May you all achieve the highest rankings and enjoy the event.'”

The event will offer medal events in Alpine Skiing, 3×3 Basketball, Indoor Rowing and Futsal. Despite Nordic skiing being an integral part of the event, unforeseen challenges arose. Regrettably, adverse weather conditions and melting snow on the tracks forced the cancellation of the competitions.

Live streams of all sports will be available on Virtus social media and YouTube channels.

Stay updated with event highlights at Virtus FacebookTwitter and Instagram on all competition days between 3rd March to 8th March. Event information can be accessed from the Virtus European Winter Games website.