Pride of place for Corsica’s natural gems and passion of sport

A proud place for Corsica’s passion for football

A moment of emotion and remembrance marked the passing of the Olympic torch at the Stadio Armand Cesare, home of Sporting Clube di Bastia. In this stadium, 19 people died on May 5, 1992, while 2,300 others were injured when the southern stand collapsed, a tragedy that marked the club’s history. The Olympic torch relay expressed its desire to pay tribute to the victims. As a result, Josefa Guidicelli, president of the Association of Victims of the Furiani Disaster, was the first to carry the Olympic torch into the stadium, before holding a minute’s silence in front of the memorial to the victims.

This sequence was followed by a group relay organized by the French Football Federation. The panel was made up of 24 football enthusiasts and was led by Charles Orlanducci, the former symbolic captain of Sporting Clube de Bastia and a former French international. All aspects of this sport were represented by male and female football players who paraded in front of several hundred children gathered inside the stadium.

The group of about 120 torchbearers also consisted of many people involved daily in the development of the sport on the island, including artistic swimming coach Lina Pardieu-Patroni, whose grandmother competed in the Grenoble Olympics (in 1968) and who lit the Her mother torched a cauldron in Corti during the Olympic torch relay organized for the Winter Olympics in Albertville (in 1992).

There were also Nicola Filippi, 81, who is committed to encouraging people to take up athletics, Olivier Oggiano, who contributes to Sport for All, and triathlete Nicola Wallon. Like the latter, Joseph Acquaviva, a nature lover, proud shepherd, was one of the relay runners.

Also among the torch bearers were the notable presence of Patrick Fiore, a native of the island who sang Mama Corsica at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993, and Mathieu Lehanor, designer of the Olympic torch and cauldrons for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Games, she was also involved in Corsican theatre. It was an honor for the man who conceived the design of the Olympic Flame to participate in the caravan transporting the Holy Fire of Olympia.

In Bastia, the Olympic flame paid tribute to Velosports, a well-known figure in the world of sports for his comments on social networks. The sports-loving Corsica native died in 2021 due to myopathy. Carrying the Olympic torch was one of his dreams, and he even went so far as to get a tattoo on his forearm. It was his niece and close friends who carried the Olympic torch in his name.

Priscilla Gentto lights the cauldron

At the same time, a number of events were organized throughout the day. Olympic-style sporting events were held throughout the morning in Porto Vecchio, a petanque court was set up and BMX and table tennis workshops were held in Bastia. This is also where the celebration site was created, in the heart of the city in Piazza San Nicola. Workshops on figure skating, wild dancing and combat sports were available and open to all.

When the festivities and show are over, it’s time for the last torchbearer to finish the relay, judoka Priscilla Gneto. Raised in Porto Vecchio, she has been competing at the highest level for more than ten years, as evidenced by her bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. By lighting the cauldron, Priscilla brought this day to the heart of Corsica. to an appropriate result.

Tomorrow, the Olympic flame will return to mainland France to travel across the eastern Pyrenees. From the Pic de Canigou mountain to the coast at Collioure, and from Prades to Perpignan, it will continue its journey to the delight of the many curious spectators watching the caravan pass by.

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