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Italian wheelchair basketball player Ion subject to racially-motivated attack

Italian wheelchair basketball player Beatrice Ion and her father have been subjected to a racially-motivated physical and verbal attack near Rome.

Ion's father suffered a broken cheekbone in the incident, which occurred in the town of Ardea, around 35 kilometres from the Italian capital.

The attack has been condemned by the Italian Paralympic Committee and Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora.

Ion, who has a Romanian background, wrote on Facebook that they were attacked after a man was "disturbed" by her occupying a disabled parking space.

"I have lived in Italy for 16 years, I have Italian citizenship and I have done all the schools here," she wrote.

"I am continuing my studies at the university, I play wheelchair basketball with the Italian national team and I consider myself entirely Italian. 

"Yet I was attacked. 

"My dad is probably in the hospital with a broken cheekbone because they say we are foreigners from a different country or that they must return to their country. 

"I leave out the offences that I took because I am disabled."

Italian Paralympic Committee President Luca Pancalli condemned the attack in a statement

Italian Paralympic Committee President Luca Pancalli said the organisation stood with Ion.

"Beatrice wears the blue shirt with pride and commitment and has lived in our country for 16 years," Pancalli said in a statement.

"Her complaint makes you shiver. 

"The insults related to her disability were added to the insults. 

"It is incredible to still have to comment on such episodes of hatred, violence and ignorance. 

"These circumstances must make everyone think once again. 

"I hope that those responsible for this ignorant gesture that deserves the firm condemnation of the whole country are identified as soon as possible.

"These individuals should volunteer in a Paralympic sports club for at least a month. 

"Such an experience could teach them respect and civil coexistence."

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