Abbagnale talked to World Rowing about his new role and the current status of Italian Rowing.

Giuseppe Abbagnale has been elected the new president of the Italian Rowing Federation

World Rowing: After finishing at the international level of rowing in 1995, how have you stayed involved in the sport?
Giuseppe Abbagnale
: In 1996 I became the councillor for sport in my club (CN Stabia), in 2000 I was the President of the Campania Regional Committee and from 2001 to 2004 Vice President of the Italian Rowing Federation. Before being elected President, I also held the position of Vice President of CN Stabia.

WR: What made you decide to run for president?
The desire to reunite a divided rowing, marked especially by the conflicts born between the athletes of the national team and the Italian rowing leadership after the negative results of the Olympics. Consequently, my aim is also to bring the Italian rowing towards the top again. It will take a lot of work and perhaps not just four years, but we must close the gap between us and the leading nations such as Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Germany. To do this we want to recover the culture of commitment and training, motivating our athletes more and constantly supporting them.

WR: What excites you most about your new role?
Using my skills and those of the team that has supported me to serve the sport I love: rowing. My goal, as I have said, is to work only for rowing from the bottom up. This is what excites me most overall.

WR: Do you have changes that you would like to make in Italian Rowing?
I have in mind what (needs) to change, but because I decided that everything should be discussed democratically with the council, I think it is premature to communicate my ideas. As soon as our choices are official, in accordance with the rules, we will make them public.

WR: Where do you think the greatest strengths lie in Italian Rowing? – and what about the weaknesses?
The greatest strength of Italian rowing is represented by the clubs. The main example lies in the good results achieved at the World Junior Championships. Weaknesses must be found in the management of the (national) team and we must find additional resources to increase the initiatives that the federation must develop. My Council and I are the representatives of all the Italian clubs and therefore we will strive to solve any problems.

WR: Do you think the sport of rowing has changed much from when you were rowing
Rowing has changed in terms of technology and materials, but the medals are won in the same way - training hard during the season and giving 100 per cent during the competitions. The athletes have changed as they must be listened to, but everyone should (stay in their own) role.

WR: Do you still row?
Sometimes when the job lets me I go out in an eight with members of my club in Castellammare of Stabia.