Macron Warriors Sabbioneta, heroes every day
The local sports centre lies just outside the old walls of Sabbioneta, the splendid town established near Mantua by Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga and now classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Approaching it, you can often hear the sound of powerchair wheels. This sound is made by a team of young people who have been at the top of Italian wheelchair hockey for many years: Macron Warriors Sabbioneta. Whenever the Warriors are playing, the sports centre’s terraces becomes an ocean of red and blue in support of athletes who are always heroes. The joy, determination and passion the players put into every game are contagious. Every Sunday, the Warriors meet to overcome the challenge of their adversaries and the obstacles that life has placed in their way.
A story within a story
2014-2024: next year the Macron Warriors will celebrate their tenth anniversary. This story of passion for sport began in the sports centres where wheelchair hockey was played, where a young Fabio Merlino, now president and coach of the Macron Warriors, was taken by his father Filippo, a second lieutenant in the Carabinieri and Commander of the Viadana station. Fabio has suffered from a neuromuscular degenerative disorder from birth. Filippo Merlino was sent to Nassiryah in Iraq in 2003 and never came home. He died, along with another 19 Italians, in a suicide bombing on 12 November that year. Many years later, and with a life to be rebuilt from scratch, Fabio, who had started playing wheelchair hockey, decided, with his mother and a group of friends, to form the Warriors in Viadana in memory of his father.
A great performance in Holland, home of wheelchair hockey
In ten years, the team has enjoyed great success, starting with wins in A2 and progressing to national and international competitions and promotion to A1, a championship in which the Macron Warriors have been a top name for years and true role models for powerchair sport. But let’s return to the present. August this year saw a particularly important achievement: third place in what is considered the most prestigious of all club tournaments in this sport,the International GP Bulls Powerchair Hockey Tournament, held in Eindhoven, Holland, the historic home of wheelchair hockey. The Warriors from Sabbioneta beat teams from all over Europe and were only stopped by the hosts in the semi-final. This prestigious result confirms the progress made by a team that improves with every season. Over the years the club has employed a range of technical, commercial and communication professionals essential to the development of its ambitious sporting project.
A sporting and social project
The team spirit of the Macron Warriors, along with shared values like the promotion of sport for people with motor disabilities, have led to multiple projects in the field of awareness, visibility and social inclusion. Players from the Warriors often visit local schools and receive groups of school students for a day with the red and blue team. Special training events provide young people with a chance to get to know a new sport and its rules. Visitors even get to try the powerchairs for themselves and to understand how the players find the courage to face their challenges and even use their disability to their advantage, becoming true athletes and giving their all on and off court. The discipline, tenacity and determination shown by the team on court is a clear metaphor for the courage with which they live their lives every day.
Special ties with Macron
2014-2024 is also the length of the ties between the Warriors and Macron. As soon as he met the Warriors, Gianluca Pavanello, CEO of Macron, immediately saw the importance of the club’s sporting and social ambitions. A ten-year partnership has followed and, more importantly, a consolidated friendship has formed over the years. The Warriors are the only club in the Macron world to include the name ‘Macron’ in their own name. This means that the name of Macron appears in all the club’s tournaments. The Macron Hero even forms part of the club’s logo. ‘Become Your Own Hero’ is the philosophy of life and sport of this group of young people. By overcoming challenges on a daily basis, and by striving and suffering together, they have achieved their ambitions with courage, determination and love for life. Macron Warriors Sabbioneta, heroes every day.