DRD4 club’s Open Women at ERC

DRD4 5Dorothea Oberhofer, Melanie Kobald, Katharina Dietl and Valentina Steck are all part of the well-known DRD4 club in Italy. Three years ago I wrote about the DRD4’s U23 men’s team, so it’s a special pleasure and honour for me to write about the women’s team now.

The DRD4 Ladies will represent Italy in the Open Women’s category at the Euro Rafting Champs R4 competition in Slovenia from 16 – 22 this month. We got to know them through a few questions that we asked.

DRD4 1Melanie, tell me something about your competitive history?

“We will be competing as the Italian national team at the European Championship in Tacen (Slovenia), in the open women’s category. This year we already competed at the Euro Cup in Tacen where we achieved 4th place in the overall; Euro Cup in Wildalpen with a 6th place overall; and the Italian Championship in Valstagna, where we made two second places in Sprint and Head to Head. So far we are very satisfied with our results and we are already preparing hard for the upcoming European Championship.

How long have you been rafting?

Dorothea, Melanie and Valentina started rafting five years ago and Katharina joined two years ago. We have all been hooked ever since we started rafting, we love the rivers and the team spirit.”

We have seen that you started the season well, so we are very interested in how you prepared for this season and what training you did for the ERC?

DRD4 4“Specifically for the Championships and this year’s season we have prepared ourselves with a training plan which is composed of three main parts. One part focuses on the fitness where we train the desired muscle groups at the gym. Our training sessions have already shown good effects on muscle endurance, high-speed strength, maximum force and the technique in the boat. The second part is all about rafting and the training in the boat with the whole team, which was not easy this winter as the rivers had low water levels. The third part contains endurance like running or swimming which gives the muscles of the upper body occasionally a little break. In winter we mainly train on the Inn in Innsbruck (Austria) or the Adige in South Tyrol (Italy). When it gets warmer and the rivers have higher water levels we train on the mighty Passirio in South Tyrol.”

DRD4 3After such thorough preparations and investments in this season, Melanie, tell us, do you have any expectations for the competition in Slovenia?

“As we only started training together as a team a year ago, we want to see if our hard training will pay off in the competition and where we need to improve ourselves to be able to compete internationally. The bar for this competition is set very high, because many good and well-known women’s teams will be racing. We have already raced in Tacen this year, therefore we know that the course is very technical and challenging where even good teams will have their problems.”

Of all the disciplines, which one do you prefer most?

“Our favourite discipline might be the Slalom as it is a very elegant discipline but especially for this race the Head to Head, because the smallest mistake will be punished immediately and is difficult to correct. We are really looking forward to racing at the Euro Champs and we are curious as to who will win the races!” Me too. And because I haven’t seen some of the teams yet this year at competitions, it is not easy to predict.

Is there someone you would like to thank?

“We would like to thank our sponsor King of the Alps and we want to give some special thanks to our boss and coach Felix Pirhofer. Also we would like to thank Caroline Goodall, Thomas Waldner, Stefano Pellin and of course the Italian Rafting Federation. And not to forget Daniel for always lending us his car for our training sessions ;) “

DRD4 2Such a short time together and the excellent progress so far are an indication of the potential of this young team. It is nice to see the DRD4 girls in action. They were preparing seriously for ERC and we wish them a good stroke and a nice time. See you there girls!

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