Italy meets early season competition at Memorial Paolo D’Aloja
The home of Italian rowing, Piedliuco, recently hosted the 27th Memorial Paolo D’Aloja regatta.
This regatta is seen as the first major race of the season for Italy and always attracts solid competition from near and far nations. This year 17 countries competed including Mexico and Zimbabwe.
The regatta is held over three days including two finals days which often means coaches try out different team combinations on each day. This was the case for Donata Vistartaite of Lithuania. On the first day of finals Vistartaite won the women’s single sculls. Then on day two she teamed up with Junior World Champion, Milda Valciukaite to win the women’s double sculls.
With Vistartaite in the double on day two, former World Champion Frida Svensson of Sweden was able to step up from second to first in the women’s single. Behind Svensson on both days was Aikaterini Nikolaidou of Greece followed by Tale Gjoertz of Norway.
Lithuania’s small but effective squad dominated the men’s single sculls with Mindaugas Griskonis winning on day one and Rolandas Mascinskas winning on day two. These two athletes alternated racing in the men’s double sculls with Saulius Ritter as their partner. Both days they finished in second behind Italy’s Romano Battisti (silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympics) and his partner Francesco Fossi.
Italy’s top lightweight male, Elia Luini finished fourth in the lightweight men’s double sculls on the first day of finals when he raced with new partner Martino Goretti. The duo stepped up to third on day two. On both days Greece’s dynamic duo of Eleftherios Konsolas and Spyridon Giannaros were the victors, with second place twice going to Andrea Micheletti and Pietro Ruta who rowed as Italy’s second crew.
On both days Italy was first in the lightweight women’s double sculls. Elisabetta Sancassani and Laura Milani took line honours ahead of Cecilia Lilja and Emma Fredh of Sweden.
Serbia’s rowing stalwart, Olympian Nikola Stojic was back in his favoured boat, the pair, and on both days he had first place finishes with partner Nenad Bedjik.
The regatta had favourable weather conditions for both days of finals, although times were slower on the second day due to some head wind.
Approximately 370 athletes competed at the regatta, including a group who came directly to the regatta following the annual FISA development training camp in Piediluco. This camp was made up of athletes and coaches from rowing’s developing nations of Egypt, Israel, Tunisia and Zimbabwe with the aim of helping them prepare for their targeted regattas. The focus, as set by FISA Development Director, Thor Nilsen, was on assessment and monitoring of daily training.
Tunisia’s technical director, Faycal Soula, who helped coordinate the camp noted that there was improvements across the board especially on the technical, physical and mental aspects of the sport.
For Italy this regatta is one of the steps towards national team selection with Italian Rowing’s new president, Giuseppe Abbagnale seeing this event as the start of the path to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
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