“At the center of my thoughts, there is Lignano”

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Foto Augusto Bizzi

Starting the year looking back can be a very pleasant thing, especially if the year that ended is a year like 2019 was able to be. For coach Riccardo Vernole, for all of Italy of the Paralympic swimming, an incredible year: simply, incredible. Culminated, and we will never tire of remembering it, with the victory in the medal standings at the London World Championships. “Satisfied? Not at all. ” Coach Vernole doesn’t even want to hear that word. “No – he continues – we are not satisfied: even if that moment, that moment there, the moment after the penultimate race when we understood that we would win the medal table, that will remain forever. But a second later everything changes, and the thought immediately goes to what there is to do to stay on these levels”.

And why?
Because now everyone is looking at us. And they look at us exactly as I looked at others in 2009: they look to understand how to fight us.

Lignano. How important will this year be?
A lot, because it will be the key event in view of the Tokyo Paralympics. The World Series will be important for someone in view of qualifying, for others as preparation for the European and Paralympic Games. In Lignano I will look for confirmations by looking both in the short term and in the near future. Confirmation for already established athletes, but also and above all for those who are not yet known to most and could tear a ticket for the European Championships in Funchal or even for the Paralympics.

Three editions: not bad, right?
Having reached the third year is a source of pride: the first edition was a challenge, the second was that of confirmation, the next edition will be that of certainty. There is still a long way to go, but at the same time we have come a long way: with a clear value shared by all, the value of work ethics.

What will the week of Lignano be for the coach?
The most important moment from here to Tokyo, the center of my work, a fixed thought: and, believe me, I am not exaggerating. I believe that in many respects Lignano will be more important than the European Championships in Funchal, apart from the fact that in that week we will have the opportunity to be together, to be well, and to face the best athletes. Lignano is truly like a small Olympic village with the “plus” of italian hospitality.

Easy to ask her what she expects from 2020 …
Everyone is waiting for us at the gate, expectations are enormous but we are not hiding. Confirming is very difficult, but we will go to Tokyo with a strong and numerous team: let’s say that I expect a better Paralympic than Rio.

And then?
And then I ask to continue, more and more, on the road we have taken: that of a continuous and constant exchange between FINP and FIN. We have opened an important way: our Raimondi will go to make a collegiate in Livigno with FIN, while Rachele Bruni who won the silver in Rio in the 10 km open water is training at the swimming pool of the Santa Lucia Foundation, where she will find the water at a temperature similar to what will be in Tokyo. This is very, very important: for the first time the Paralympic will make itself available to the Olympian. This is the way.

Will there be any surprises on the day of the summons?
Let’s say we are monitoring a couple of still unknown athletes. Who knows …

Categories: wpsitaly_2020

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