The seventh edition of the Paralympic European Athletics Championships which were held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, has ended and Italy comes out of this experience with its head held high, with ten medals (2 golds, 1 silver, 7 bronzes), a world record retouched twice by Martina Caironi in the long T63, a European record, four Italian records and excellent performances by all the members of the blue delegation. The official closing of the races was entrusted to Arjola Dedaj’s 200 T11s who, having passed the preliminary round, were disqualified in the final for passing the guide to the finish line before the athlete. “I was falling from fatigue and in the end I crashed. This morning I thought I could manage the final well but the others were better,” she said with regret. FISPES President Sandrino Porru is proud: “It was a very special European event, dictated by the decision to leave some of our top level athletes at home to better prepare the Paralympic appointment in Tokyo”.
How was this experience for Italy?
“I would say excellent. A team that has not failed to meet expectations and has been able to demonstrate the continuous growth of Paralympic athletics in our country. A representative team with several young people who have performed well, even reaching the podium”.
What balance can he make?
“Definitely positive. 10 medals (2 Golds, 1 Silver and 7 Bronzes) with a world record by Martina Caironi, in the Long, and a European record by Di Marino, in the 400m, are certainly a nice booty, even more precious if we think about it. that having chosen to leave most of our Top Levels at home, in order to better refine their preparation for Tokyo, led us to consciously give up important medals, which would certainly have thrown us into the top positions of the European medal table “.
Which athletes have positively exceeded expectations? Was there any surprise you didn’t expect?
“The entire delegation was superb because they were able to create the right team spirit, an aspect that is not at all obvious in an individual sport, and this has favored the serenity of the beginners and young people, with demonstration of the great charisma by the veterans present. Particularly surprised by the young promises such as Dieng, Cutilli and Bagaini, who bode well for the future. Surely not expected was the injury of Simone Manigrasso, who could have climbed the top step of the podium “.
What kind of reception has the team had in Poland?
“We were given excellent hospitality and, as required by Covid regulations and technical needs, daily life took place between camp-hotels. I thank my Polish friends for the excellent organization worthy of an international event like this”.
A look towards Tokyo from the point of view of the team that will be selected.
“Now all focused on Tokyo, waiting for the last assignable slots with respect to the High Performance achieved by our athletes, also during these championships which will add up to the 8 slots already won on the field. This will be the last act necessary to define the numbers the team. As for the names, the National Technical staff is monitoring the athletic preparations of all eligible athletes. I am sure that we will have a highly competitive team, capable of bringing home important results and representing the blue jersey in the best possible way. “
There are various reports regarding the possibility of Tokyo being canceled. There is a lot of discussion about whether to do them or not. What do you think?
“This is the topic that has kept the world of sport in suspense for over a year and a half. We continue to talk about this but I think that, now missing a month from the opening of the Olympic Games, a cancellation or worse still a postponement. I think we have to give everything and do the impossible to get back to normality. The important thing is to know how to respect the rules and behave foresight. Also in Italy we have shown that with these ingredients of respect and seriousness it is also possible to organize major sporting events. I really hope that Tokyo represents the triumph of sport and the definitive abolition of fear and mutual distrust, to rediscover the beauty of being together and enjoy the beautiful feats of our boys. It will be like going OtremodOltre, even with respect to an experience like Covid, of which to keep only the necessary lessons to better support our future “.