Sailing into the Future

IBSA for inclusive sailing: the victories of Velabili at the Special Olympics World Games 2023

With one gold and one bronze, the athletes of the Associazione Velabili return victorious from the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, the Olympics dedicated to people with mental disabilities. This excellent result reinforces the positive message that inclusion and respect – two values ​​in which IBSA strongly believes – are important and successful both in sport and in life.


As part of the inclusive sailing initiatives of the project Sailing into the Future. Together, IBSA continues to support the Circolo Velico Lago di Lugano, which hosts the Associazione Velabili. With its 600 members, the Circolo Velico Lago di Lugano is the second largest sailing club in Switzerland, as well as one of the most active youth organisations. The Associazione Velabili was born in 2016 within the Circolo Velico to promote activities aimed at people with cognitive, physical and sensory disabilities, and since then inclusive sailing has become a distinctive and successful feature.

The organisation has a fleet of RS Venture Connect SCSSs and Hansa 303s, thanks to which people with disabilities can try their hand at preparatory regattas for national and international competitions, coached by qualified skippers. Thanks to their commitment and dedication, this year the athletes of the Associazione Velabili qualified for the Special Olympics World Games 2023, held in Berlin from 17 to 25 June.


One hundred ninety delegations, 7,000 athletes accompanied by 20,000 volunteers and 9 days of competitions: the Special Olympics World Games are a major international event, the world’s largest inclusive sporting event, in which thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities compete in 26 different disciplines. As for sailing, two are the teams from the Swiss delegation who competed with others 33 teams from all over the world.

And this year the Velabili proudly took home a gold and a bronze medal. In addition to the two medals, in any case, the winners were also friendship, passion, the desire to share and the strength to support each other in difficulties. The entire event is, indeed, a great opportunity to experience first-hand the true sense of inclusion and integration. it’s not just health and physical fitness to be emphasised and strengthened, but also team spirit, self-confidence and autonomy.

Special Olympics World Games 2023