A taste of the 2018 season at Italy’s Memorial Paolo d’Aloja
Northern hemisphere rowers are emerging from long winter months of cross training, indoor rowing and perhaps a training camp somewhere south where unfrozen water allowed for water time.
The regatta known as Memorial Paolo d’Aloja has awakened the racing senses of rowers from 28 countries as they come out to test their 2000m rowing speed for the first time in 2018. The Memorial Paolo d’Aloja took place in Piediluco, Italy at the home of the Italian National Training Centre.
The format of the regatta has two days of finals with the potential for different crews to race on each of the finals days. In the Saturday finals Florin Enache of Romania recorded the gold medal time. On Sunday Olympic finalist, Hannes Obreno of Belgium finished first. Obreno took a year off from international racing after finishing fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Coming back this year, Obreno will add his name to the list of top single scullers. Vasile Agafitei of Romania was second.
Coming out on front in the women’s single sculls was Diana Dymchenko of Ukraine who raced at last year’s World Rowing Championships in the women’s quadruple sculls. Dymchenko was over three seconds ahead of Irish Olympian Sanita Puspure with Lithuanian Olympic medallist from the women’s double sculls, Milda Valciukaite in third. Dymchenko also won the next day ahead of a different line-up with Lina Saltyte-Masilione of Lithuania taking second.
Italy took the gold in the men’s double sculls in the first finals with Filippo Mondelli and Luca Rambaldi making up that crew. The duo was third at last year’s World Rowing Championships. This was ahead of Saulius Ritter and Dovydas Nemeravicius of Lithuania. Nemeravicius was part of the 2017 World Champion men’s quadruple sculls and Ritter is an Olympic medallist from Rio. On the second finals day Lithuania again finished second, this time to Ioan Prundeanu and Florin Enache of Romania.
Valciukaite raced in the women’s double in Sunday’s final with 2017 partner Ieva Adomaviciute and together they finished first over South Africa’s Kirsten McCann and Nicole van Wyk. The South African double was just half a second ahead of Purspure and Monika Dukarska of Ireland who took bronze. The previous day McCann and van Wyk won the lightweight women’s double sculls.
Italy and Lithuania had a close tussle in the men’s quadruple sculls with Lithuania coming out on top for the first day of finals. On the second day Italy finished first and second with Lithuania only managing the bronze medal spot.
The large Italian team finished easily at the top of the overall medals table with 93 points. They were followed by a close bunch with Lithuania in second ahead of Romania.
The regatta had 28 nations participating including a number of development countries. These countries raced after completing a week-long development camp. Memorial Paolo d’Aloja medal success came for Egypt in the junior men’s and women’s single sculls. Tunisia’s lightweight women’s single and open women’s single made it to the final.