Sabaudia, a “postponed appointment” with rowing
Located on the shores of Lake Paola, Sabaudia was supposed to host its first major international event this week-end with World Rowing Cup I. Then the Covid-19 situation broke. The World Cup became another casualty of Covid-19, a missed opportunity for a city that has already his sights set on European Juniors in 2022 and European Championships in 2024.
Sabaudia’s rowing vocation was discovered back in the late 1950s and it was serious enough that it was taken into consideration as a rowing course for the 1960 Rome Olympics. The Olympic Torch, during its approach to Rome, passed through Sabaudia and crossed the Baia d’Argento of Lake Paola, where rowing has become well-established. Lake Paola is a unique natural environment. Immersed in the green Circeo National Park, very close to the sea and with a favourable climate all year round, Sabaudia is a great destination for tourism.
Over the years, rowing has come to take centre stage in Sabaudia. The availability of the lake, the hospitality of the institutions, the logistics and equipment of the sports’ centres and the local community played a fundamental role in the development of the activity of rowing.
Numerous Italian championships have been hosted on Lake Paola. One reason is the water conditions. The lake is rarely subject to prevailing winds. It is protected on the W-NW side by the natural dune that separates the lake from the sea and S-SW by the Circeo Promontory. The particularly mild autumn and winter climate allows optimal conditions for training – many international teams select Sabaudia as their European location for training. Running and cycling workouts are possible along the road that runs alongside the sea.
Despite its rowing popularity, Sabaudia has never hosted a major international rowing event. The 2020 World Rowing Cup I was going to be the first. For staging World Cup I, the entire venue required substantial adjustments to bring it up to an international standard. The Albano lane system was completely redone and the finish tower was restructured and redeveloped. All of the fixtures, pontoons and course structures along the regatta course have been renewed and replaced. An optical fibre network has been installed for television, timing and communication requirements.
The international sporting events has enabled the city to bid for further events – and not only for flat-water events. Across the natural sand dunes, the clean water, the wide spaces, the gradual depth of the water, the overall characteristics of the shore and the operational support logistics are perfect elements for hosting high-level coastal rowing regattas.
The local Municipality, the Lazio Region, along with the immense work of the Organising Committee were instrumental in the transformation of Sabaudia. They have invested in infrastructure, equipment and human resources with the strategic and long-term objective of helping Sabaudia to make the "qualitative leap" that would benefit the local community and the entire territory.
With Covid-19, the lively and dynamic city of Sabaudia has seen its pace slow down. People are currently staying at home, sports activities are blocked and the Italian national rowing team has suspended its training camp.
But in the words of the Organising Committee, “the appointment with the international "Rowing world" is only postponed”. In 2022 it will see the organisation of the European Rowing Junior Championships. And then in 2024 the European Rowing Championships will bring Sabaudia back to international attention.
“More than hopes are certainties, once out of this tunnel we will start over again and Sabaudia will return more beautiful, more alive and more welcoming than ever.”