One month to WRWTC Roma 2016

07 Aprile 2016

The Italian capital will host the World Race Walking Team Championships on 7th and 8th May. In the olympic year 600 athletes will compete on a course etched in history between the Arco of Costantino and the Terme di Caracalla.

It’s just one month to go to the 7th-8th May weekend when Rome will become the world capital of walking racing. The Eternal City is getting ready to host the first edition of the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, the new name of the historic World Cup. It’s the fourth time that Italy hosts this event (previously known as the Lugano Trophy) after the editions held in Varese 1963, Pescara 1965 and Turin 2002.

The official press conference of the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships was held today in Rome at the Hall of Honour of the Italian Olympic Committee. The CONI President Giovanni Malagò, the CONI General Secretary Roberto Fabbricini, the FIDAL President Alfio Giomi, the Technical Director Massimo Magnani and Olympic champion and current President of the IAAF Walking Racing Commission Maurizio Damilano, who will be the Technical Delegate of this event, will attend the press conference.

Olympic atmosphere - The best specialists of the toe and heel discipline (about 600 athletes from 56 countries are expected to compete), will test their form on a course etched in history which starts at the foot of the Colosseum under the Arch of Costantino and finishes on the track of the Nando Martellini Stadium in the heart of the Baths of Caracalla. In just a few kilometres the course will wind up on a stunning course, whose beauty probably represented one of the trump cards for the assignment of the event by the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) on 7th January. A few months before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships will be held in an Olympic atmosphere between the memory of the Olympic marathon in Rome 1960 (whose finish-line was located under the Arch of Costantine) and the present marked by the bid of the Italian capital for the 2024 Olympic Games.

In the memory of Anna Rita – The journey of memory has already started from the logo of the Championships with the Colosseum in the background of the picture in motion of Italian walker Anna Rita Sidoti, the Olympic champion in Athens in 1997, who died prematurely in 2015 when she was just 45 years old. The story of Anna Rita, who was the mother of three children, a corageous and smiling woman and unforgettable athlete, has deeply moved the whole Italy.

Giovanni Malagò (President of the Italian Olympic Committee): “We strongly supported the bid for the World Race Walking Team Championships to celebrate the incredible tradition of Italy in walking racing and to show that Rome wants and can host the biggest sport events. I think about the Golden Gala, the Internazionali d’Italia, the Six Nations, the Seven Hills meeting, the Rome Marathon. These are big and totally different events, which send a clear message in favour of the bid of Rome for the 2024 Olympic Games. I want to thank the FIDAL President Giomi and all his working group because they are winning a race against time. We are working together again. On the 7th-8th May weekend all eyes will be on Italy but we will be able to do our best.

Alfio Giomi (President of the Italian Athletics Federation): Fourteen years after Turin 2002 we will host  a World athletics Championship again. Our athletes will compete in a unique backdrop, in front of very supportive crowd and will enjoy the best possible conditions to achieve the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It will be a great chance to promote athletics and walking races. It will be a great occasion to remember Anna Rita Sidoti. The women’s race has been named after her thanks to the sensibility of the IAAF President Sebastian Coe. It was a big challenge to organise such an important event in just four months, but everything is going in the right direction thanks to our team effort and the outstanding involvement of the Mulnicipality of Rome. The bid for these World Race Walking Team Championships was born in emergency as a consequence of a particular international case but in agreement with the French and the Spanish Federations.”

Giomi talked about the case of Alex Schwazer: “If and when he comes back, we will monitor his performances. There is nothing else to be said on this case before. At the moment we have a very competitive walking team. In general we look at the future with optimism because a new generation is coming.

There are young athletes, who perhaps will not reach their peak in Rio, but will guarantee a positive future to Italian athletics which is returning to its best level not only on the big stage but everywhere. The number of members to the Italian athletics Federation has risen from 180 thousand in 2012 to 215 thousand in 2015 and the trend is expected to grow to 250 thousand. We are against the trend of this period in which it is increasingly difficult to get young people interested in sport”.

Roberto Fabbricini (General Secretary of the Italian Olympic Committee): “It’s a present to the world of walking racing and to the tradition of this discipline in the story of Italian sport and the most beautiful thing whch could be done in Rome. Many memorable moments come into my mind. I remember Pino Dordoni, Abdon Pamich, Maurizio Damilano, Anna Rita Sidoti and Betty Perrone, who would have deserved something more at the Olympic Games. We want to offer these emotional moments to the Italian crowd, who will make their support heard, and cheer on the Italian athletes along the course in a unique atmosphere.”

Maurizio Damilano, who won the Olympic 20 km title in Moscow 1980 and the first of his two world 20 km gold medals in Rome 1987: “Italy replaced Russia in the organisation of this event only at the start of January. The Organizing Committee is doing a huge work in a fascinating but difficult area to deal with, like the one chosen for the course of the World Race Walking Team Championships. The fact that the team aspect has been emphasized in the new name strengthens the importance of walking racing in each country”.

Azzurri – The first list of names who will make the Italian team has been officially announced. National record holder Eleonora Giorgi, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Elisa Rigaudo, Sibilla Di Vincenzo and Valentina Trapletti are expected to take part in the women’s 20 km race. In the men’s 20 km race Giorgio Rubino will be joined by Francesco Fortunato, Leonardo Dei Tos and Michele Antonelli. In the 50 km race Marco De Luca, Matteo Giupponi, Federico Tondonati and Teodorico Caporaso have been capped for the men’s 50 km. In the coming weeks the FIDAL Technical Director, who will draw useful conclusions from these championships on the walkers who will be called to represent Italy at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, will assess further athletes to add to the Senior team. The National Junior team Coach Stefano Baldini will announce the Junior team after the International Walking meeting scheduled on 9th April in Podebrady (Czech Republic) and the second leg of the Italian Club Championships on track on 17th April in Acquaviva delle Fonti.

The timetable – The programme features five competitions. Each competition will determine the team ranking. The two junior 10 km races and the two 20 km senior races are scheduled on Saturday 7th May and the 50 km race is scheduled on Sunday 8th May.

Saturday 7h May

9.30                                       women’s junior 10 km

10.35                                    men’s junior 10 km

16.00                                    Opening ceremony

16.30                                    men’s senior 20 km

18.15                                    women’s senior race 20 km

Sunday 8th May

9.00                                       50 km


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