Rowing for Rio in Turin's para regatta
The scenic River Po once again played host to Turin, Italy’s major para-rowing regatta. This year marked the tenth anniversary of this event, named Rowing for Rio, that continues to attract over 200 participants from across Italy.
Italy has already qualified three crews for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and these crews took centre stage over the course of the regatta. Eleonora De Paolis and Fabrizio Caselli took to the water in the para AS women’s and men’s single sculls, while the para LTA mixed coxed four also made an appearance.
Coxing the mixed coxed four was Italy's rowing icon Giuseppe “Peppiniello” Di Capua. At 57 years of age, the native of Castellamare di Stabia has decades of experience on the world stage. From his first international appearance as coxswain of the junior men’s coxed pair in 1976, Di Capua went on to dominate the coxed pair, by guiding the legendary Abbagnale brothers, Giuseppe and Carmine, to numerous World Rowing Championships and three Olympic medals.
Di Capua returned from retirement in 2013 to take the helm of the mixed coxed four taking silver at that year’s World Rowing Championships. His crew then qualified for Rio 2016 with a fourth place finish at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.
“Thanks to the FIC’s (Italian Rowing Federation) president, Giuseppe Abbagnale, and the Italian Head Coach Dario Naccari, I was able to get involved two years ago in this amazing adventure,” said Di Capua. “And for me it was really a great push to new goals. I started training again as an athlete after a long stop and made my living again as a rower, the thing I love most in my life.”
Although he is aware of his vast experience, Di Capua sees the Rio Paralympics as a learning experience for himself. I hope to help the team with my long experience, but at the same time, I’m growing as a person thanks to them.”
The Turin Regatta also saw Di Capua in action in the eight event where para-rowers and former Olympic Champion Rossano Galtarossa raced a promotional event against the Canottieri Armida team. Named the.' 8+ Open Mind' it includes athletes with six different intellectual disabilities.
This edition of the Turin regatta also included Special Olympics events on the first day of racing and for the first time the regatta held the classic Turin Universities dual race between the Politecnico di Torino and the Universita deglo Studi do Torino. Politecnico claimed victory in this event.
“This edition of ‘Rowing for Rio’ was a complete celebration of our beloved sport of rowing,” said Gian Luigi Favero, president of Canottieri Armida (the local club that organised the event). “ As far as we are concerned, we are already thinking of the 2016 edition, projected towards 2020, 'Rowing for Tokyo.' I would like to extend a welcome to teams from all over the world to join us in October 2016 following the Paralympics.”