The official Italian Team, men and women, have been just yesterday officialised by the Italian Federation, FIPSAS. On one side there is a new entry among the men’s team. Nico Strambelli, after some years as support to the National team, has finally deserved his place as official athlete competing this year in Spain. On the women’s side there are some much bigger question marks. The strongest Italian athletes, or at least the most expert ones, have stopped agonistic spearfishing, at least this year. As the Official International Media Partner of the Spanish Underwater sports Federation, the FEDAS, at the 2023 World Spearfishing Championship, we start with some more info on this selection. To do this we have also interviewed the Technical Director of the Italian national team, Marco Bardi, in such position since 2016.
For what regards the men’s team, two of the three athletes are known and well run. They are the World Champion Giacomo De Mola, who also holds the 2021 and 2022 Italian titles, and Luigi Puretti, an incredibly strong athlete, also winner of two Italian titles in 2016 and 2019. “They are two very strong and reliable athletes, who tend to be successful and effective practically in every competition. Giacomo De Mola is evidently amazingly strong, and his World Title is there to confirm that. Puretti has an incredible capacity of reading and analyzing the sea conditions and find the best approach. Still, this will not be necessarily a fixed choice for the future. Other athletes will have their chance to compete in international events with the National team”, are the first comments by Bardi.
The novelty in the Italian team is Nico Strambelli. Nico is an incredibly strong and expert athlete, supporting the Italian team since 2018, at the World Championship in Portugal, Sagres, then won by Jodi Lot and Spain. “It was time to prize the talent and efforts of Nico putting him in the team with a starting role. Still, Nico has deserved this “promotion” for key aspects such as his experience and capacity to spearfish excellently utilizing any technique. This in particular will be key this year in Spain, where the sea conditions can totally change the way to spearfish“, comments Bardi.
In fact, with good and calm sea, not too much current and good visibility, it will be possible to spearfish deep, away from the coast. But if the oceanic waves will be present, it will be almost obligatory to spearfish along the cost, in shallow water, in the middle of the foam. The technique will totally change, with the need of fast and intuitive shots.
“Of course other young athletes surely deserved to be in the water and compete this year, but I have decided to give space to a more experienced athlete. Also, the collaboration between the three members of the team is key, and I am sure with this selection such aspect will be guaranteed. A member of the team like Alfonso Cubicciotto is definitely one of the athletes who more than others deserve to compete. We agreed together with him that this choice, this year, makes sense. Also, I do not want to have athletes which are too young and may lack in experience, putting them in a stressful condition too soon.”
For what regards the Italian Women team, the situation is very different. A total change of athletes has been necessary by the fact that the three strongest and more experienced competitors have decided to abandon competitions, at t+least for the moment. Tiziana Martinelli, the Euro-African and Italian Champion, with this decision leaves a big void in the Italian and International spearfishing competition world. Be it family commitments or a loss of motivation after having won so many titles in so little time, Tiziana was also somehow the leader of the Italian Team. Most probably, her decision has generated a ripple effect, somehow “convincing” also Alice Ferrari and Alessandra Totaro to also stop agonistic spearfishing this year. They will in fact not even compete in the Italian Championship this year, with only Totaro still in doubt.
“We start from zero, as the team is totally new. Cinzia Cara had actually competed at a national level, but had to stop for health problems. Emanuela De Lullo was already with us at the Euro-African in Tunisia, Bizerte, and has definitely some more experience. Federica Randazzo has competed last year in the Italian Championship, has shown dedication and passion, but of course needs to grow a lot. It will be somehow as when a football team invests in its youth sector. It is a work that will surely bring out the best talents. For now, what I have been looking for and prized are passion, dedication and availability”, are the comments by Bardi. He will have to do a hard work to put together a strong women’s team as he did in the past.
“I understand that sometimes the fans, followers and the readers of Apneapassion, and whoever looks at spearfishing competitions in Italy, can find some decisions a little odd. But it happens that reality leads us to make some complicated decisions. The goal that FIPSAS has assigned to me is to create a a group and an environment which are positive, and not only on the basis of the results. So, even if we will start from unexperienced athletes, I am sure we will be able to make them grow and reach important results”, concludes Bardi.