It was a busy afternoon that marked the second day of EOC 2023. The entire organisation moved to the town of Torri del Benaco, in the province of Verona, for the official opening ceremony of the Championships, which was preceded by a new EOC Tour challenge and set against the backdrop of a stunning sunset over Lake Garda.
The parade of the banners and the flags of the participating countries were introduced by the Fanfare of the Ariete Brigade, which led the procession through the historic centre to the stage on the lakefront, which was greeted by a large and enthusiastic audience.
Gracing the show were special flag bearers Aurora Bortolazzi of the Air Force Sports Group (Equitation Jumping Specialty) and Carola Casale of the Army Olympic Sports Center (Karate Kata Specialty) with the flag of the International Orienteering Federation, while Zeno Ivaldi of the Naval Sports Group (Canoe Slalom Specialty) with the Italian flag. A representation of the Torri del Benaco Alpine Group also marched among the authorities.
Doing the honors Stefano Nicotra, Mayor of Torri del Benaco, introduced by Master of Ceremony Stefano Ceiner: “We are happy that, thanks to the European Championships, Torri del Benaco is under the gaze of so many orienteers from 37 nations. The Championships will be a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Lake Garda. I would like to thank, in addition to all those who made it possible to bring this event here and contributed to its success, the bersaglieri of the Aries Brigade of the Alpine community of Pordenone, given the historical and cultural commonality. May the best win”.
“Welcome to the land of Veneto – said Regional Councilor Stefano Valdegamberi – I bring greetings from President Luca Zaia. Ours is a very special region, able to offer from the Dolomites to Lake Garda, to the Venice lagoon. I hope you can appreciate this immense heritage. A sport like orienteering, which combines discovery and knowledge of the territory, we really enjoy. We are sure you will bring home a great memory”.
“I want to thank all the local authorities – added Sergio Anesi, FISO President – and IOF for their cooperation both in organising the event and in developing the discipline. Thanks also to PWT Italy and Gabriele Viale, who immediately accepted this challenge, for the first time in Italy. Orienteering is a sport inferior to none, especially in terms of environmental protection and respect”.
After the speech by Gabriele Viale, General Manager EOC 2023, who emphasised his pride in having been able to bring the European Championships to his Region and also to his city, being originally from Vicenza, Helge Lang Pedersen spoke for IOF, kicking off the European Championships.
At the end of the ceremony, the institutional representatives took part in the prize-giving of the daily stage of the EOC Tour, which involved as many as 300 participants on a fast and seemingly simple race, with a finish line framed by the castle, but for which great care and reading skills were required to avoid making mistakes along the way.