De Mola supreme, Martinelli talented also in competition

Giacomo De Mola (Pathos) and Tiziana Martinelli (Sigalsub ) win the 2022 Italian Absolute Spearfishing Championship in Trapani waters. The men’s competition, with as many as 36 athletes competing, including a repechaged Dario Maccioni (Cressi) thanks to his World Team Championships in Arbatax title, was extraordinarily competitive. Among the 7 women competing, it was the skill and perseverance of Tiziana Martinelli that allowed her to win her very well-deserved first Italian Title.

Italian men’s championship

In Sicily, in Bonagia, in the province of Trapani, before the championship, as always, the names of the favorites went among the strong local athletes and the best fishermen in the 2021 rankings. The latter were certainly last year’s podium holders De Mola, Puretti (Seawolf – and Dessi (Abyssub – Thorpedo – Tuttopescamare). Eyes were also on Alfonso Cubiciotto (Mares), fourth in the 2021 edition, and Nico Strambelli (Omer), fifth. On the local athletes certainly stood out Nicola Riolo(Top Sub), either for his countless Italian titles, or for his extraordinary talent, or for his tenacity and curiosity to see if at 59 the multiple Italian champion could still have his say at home. “If he makes a good haul and the white grouper comes in, he becomes very dangerous,” aveshould be commented by the World and Italian Champion, Giacomo De Mola, about Nicola Riolo, with a very apt foreshadowing confirming the clear vision even at the strategic level of the 1980 Ancona Champion.

The days of preparation

In the days of preparation for the 2022 Italian Absolute Spearfishing Championship, currents had brought frozen water under the cold cut, which by the way was only 10 meters deep. Extremely low temperatures had forced athletes to prepare with 8-9 mm wetsuits, except then during the competition aiming to remove a couple of millimeters of thickness. Angelo Ascione (Cressi) himself, an excellent seventh overall in 2021, had to recover a thick wetsuit after showing up with a 5 mm.

Rumors spoke of croakers and wrasses first, then seabreams and forkbeards, a few scorpionfish, but few.The white grouper had also been confirmed, but in Camp A, the one that saw the athletes compete on the second day.

First day

A scorching day, without the slightest wind and very calm sea, so the 2022 Italian Absolute Spearfishing Championship gets underway. The first day is held in camp B, as is customary so to compete in the area furthest from the starting port.

The competition started with several athletes catching some croakers right away, such as Dario Maccioni (Cressi), immediately with two fish to his credit after about half an hour of competition. “Not having found groupers on the first two days of preparation, I decided to abandon the search toward that type of serranid. So I set the two days on white fish trying to close the croakers both days,” the Sardinian champion later commented.

But it is the usual De Mola to get off to a rocket start and capture 7 good, large-sized fish after half of the race. In the haul 5 croakers, with species closure, a seabream and a white grouper that will eventually turn out to weigh over the 3 kg of the minimum weight, and therefore valid. From there then the champion of the Pathos will not, however, be able to add any more viable prey. Instead, it will beMares athlete Alfonso Cubiciotto, finally champion of the day (15046 points – 100%), who will make extraordinary catches. With 5 croakers (closed species), one wrasse, and one big mottled grouper, the Neapolitan angler scores the same as De Mola in species and number of fish, but exceeds him in weight. The Anconetan reaches 8972 grams (13972 points – 92.86%), while the athlete from Naples exceeds 10000 points (10046). Between the two fits in the first day an extraordinary Joseph Gentilino(Pathos – 14634 – 97.26%). The very young home-grown athlete (born in Erice), year ’93, achieves an extraordinary haul count of no less than 10 valid preys, and did not obtains the day’s victory due to the lack of a grouper that would have given him the missing grams to overtake Cubiciotto (8034). Fourth of the day was Giuseppe Bonomo, who scored a record number of valid preys, 12, and 13230 points (87.93%). The first day’s ranking is very short with the top 13 athletes all above 60 percent. Quinto is Stefano Claut(Pathos), sixth Luigi Puretti, seventh Luca Vallicelli(Sigalsub), eighth Andrea Giuseppe Fazzolari(C4), ninth Salvatore Roccaforte(Biavati), tenth Valerio Losito(Omer), eleventh Diego Mazzocchi(Omer), twelfth Fabio Dessì and thirteenth Dario Maccioni.

Day two

The day starts with a slightly rougher sea than the day before. There will be areas with low visibility and spots with great water clarity as on the first day. The wind from the northeast slowly will pick up throughout the day to 20 knots and raise quite a rough sea. Currents will bring back frozen water even a few meters from the surface.

“There may be more white groupers here than yesterday,” commented Luigi Puretti( minutes before departure. The race director, Antonio Aruta, will have his work cut out for him in compacting in the center of the A race course the churning dinghies of the participants, all stretched out in the direction of the first spot to be reached.

The day thus starts more slowly. Many athletes after half an hour still have empty hauls. The competition field is larger than the day before and more nervous athletes with dinghies dart from one boundary of the permitted fishing area to the other.

The first sensational news is Nicola Riolo’s capture of a stunning white grouper of 8 kg. De Mola’s prediction comes true, and the Sicilian Champion re-enters the game not only for the day’s victory, but also the overall title. Not least because Riolo also has several croakers, some seabreams and wrasses in his haul. De Mola does not give up and at about 3 1/2 hours into the competition he finds a huge white grouper (later weighed equal to 12.5 kg) that he had marked in preparation. The depth is about 40 meters. De Mola shoots, electrocutes the grouper, but the shaft gets stuck. It will take more than 5 dives to free the shaft…always at a depth of 40 meters.

Of note have been the outstanding performances of Andrea Giuseppe Fazzolari and Dario Maccioni, who are finally fourth and fifth of the day respectively, with a record number of valid fish, ten. Also, outstanding recovery of Salvatore Natoli ( Sigalsub ), the third athlete besides De Mola and Riolo, to manage to catch a nice white grouper.

It is so Riolo to win the second day of the 2022 Spearfishing Absolute Championship, with an extraordinary result, worthy of a True champion. Certainly a good hope for the longevity of the practice of spearfishing, although it must be said that Riolo is a true talent and “monster” of this specialty to achieve certain successes at almost 60 years of age. The only ones to hold their own against the Sicilian champion are De Mola (85.24 percent) and an extraordinary Andrea Giuseppe Fazzolari (80.45 percent). More detached, but still the protagonists of an excellent day are Dario Maccioni (74.36 percent), Valerio Losito (68.72 percent) and Salvatore Natoli (63.52 percent). Of note is the communication of Dario Maccioni after the Absolute, of his withdrawal from competitions with the national team. Instead, he will continue to compete in competitions individually. A great Champion who leaves room for the “pawing youngsters,” as he called them.

De Mola still Champion

Despite Riolo’s extraordinary recovery, it is De Mola, thanks to two days consistently at the top, who again wins the 2022 Italian Title. Of course, he wins in Sicily, but he does not overachieve as in the 2021, in Puglia in Torre San Giovanni, where he had won both days by an abysmal margin over the second.

“I am really happy with the victory. I can’t say I’m totally relaxed in the competition by now, but I certainly feel confident. Both during preparation and at the start of the race, I feel strong. I know that other athletes look up to me, and it makes me perform even better.” This is the comment of the Italian and World Champion after the award ceremony.

Italian women’s championship

The 2022 Women’s Absolute Spearfishing Championship saw two of the 7 athletes compete decisively on the first day. For the Title, Tiziana Martinelli then prevailed due to her consistent results. Completely out of the game the 2021 Italian Champion, Maria Fanito (Beuchat), who did not on either day find the right key to catch valid preys. Very good Emanuela De Lullo (C4), second overall and winner of the second day. Good, but not very constant, Alessandra Totaro (Cressi), who after an outstanding victory on the first day gets zero points on the second. This will cost her both the victory and second place in the overall standings. Fourth overall is Alice Ferrari (Pathos), never really incisive in the two days, but still able to always bring home valid preys. Fifth overall is Federica Randazzo, and seventh, behind Fanito and with a penality due to catching a parrotfish, an invalid species, is rookie Roberta Lauricella.

First day

Alessandra Totaro excellently conquers the first day of the 2022 Women’s Absolute SpearfishingChampionship. Thanks to an excellent “razzolo” strategy, the athlete from Naples with 5 wrasses and a croaker places ahead of Tiziana Martinelli. The athlete from Sigalsub is second with 97.54% thanks to an excellent haul of which, however, only 4 of the 8 fish brought to the weigh-in will be valid. As a reminder, the Particular Rules of the women’s competition set the minimum prey weight at 300 grams, instead of the 400 grams of the men’s championship. Emanuela De Lullo followed in third, unfortunately penalized for exceeding the wrasses quota (11 instead of the maximum of 10) and losing 1000 points. The Roman athlete from the C4would still remain third in the day’s standings, but with a percentage of 47.79% instead of 26.06%. Respectively fourth and fifth Federica Randazzo and Alice Ferrari (20.69% and 20.10%) with one valid prey each. At zero points Maria Fanito, and at -300 points for prey penalty under 2/3 of the minimum weight Roberta Lauricella.

Day two

It is on the second day that Tiziana Martinelli shows her strength and does not give an inch in the standings with a further second place of the day and the conquer of the Title. Debacle for Alessandra Totaro who does not bring any valid fish to the weigh-in. “I hope to be able to keep my focus on this second day, because I’ve done a very good first day before and then did poorly on the second day,” Totaro had commented at the start of the second day. Unfortunately, the problem recurred, but we are confident that with increasing experience in competition the strong Cressi athlete will be able to find concentration and constancy of results. Excellent day for Emanuela De Lullo who won with 4 valid prey and 3 species. 5 are Martinelli’s preys, but with only 2 species, an aspect that brings her to 98.15% on De Lullo. Third was Alice Ferrari with 3 valid fish and 58.38%. All zero points for the remaining athletes.

Martinelli Champion 2022

Tiziana Martinelli leads Sigalsub to the 2022 Italian women’s title, and she does so with the grit and strength characteristic of a true Champion. “I expanded my technique to adapt to the demands of competitions, with fishing in the holes and “razzolo” fishing. I have to say that I was never afraid of failing to win the title because I was always focused on the final victory. It is a dream I have had for a very long time and I am extraordinarily happy,” Tiziana Martinelli commented to the Apneapassion microphones after the award ceremony and with the cup in her hand.

Second overall Emanuela De Lullo, who even without the first day’s penalty would still have finished behind Martinelli. Third is Alessandra Totaro, whose potential is evident, and who needs to work on consistency. Fourth Alice Ferrari, a great sportswoman who probably still needs to develop a little technique and strategy. Fifth a good Federica Randazzo, sixth Maria Fanito who made some comments about her intention to retire from racing. It would be a shame to lose the first Italian Woman Champion in history. Seventh was Roberta Lauricella, a young athlete who will have plenty of time to grow and make up for it next year.

Now for Marco Bardi, the choice of starting athletes for the team that will go to the Euro African in Tunisia, Bizerte, in September will not be easy…Martinelli, Totaro, Di Lullo and Ferrari the most highly rated.