DRD4 club is a machine for producing champions. This time, our cooperation with them is related to their U19 Women’s team that will be representing Italy in the UAE at the 2016 WRC. This team is composed of: Raphaela Oberhofer, Sarah Oberhofer, Deborah Walter, Sarah Walter, Marilena Nabersberg with coach: Felix Pirhofer.
Tell us about these medals Sarah?
“We started to paddle together in spring. Although Sarah, Raphaela and I have paddled together for three years already. Our first competition with this team was the Euro and World Cup in Wildalpen. We had to participate in the Open category and so didn’t have many expectations. But in the end we and our national coach, Stefano Bellin, were satisfied with our results, so we were sent to the Euro Rafting Championship in Tacen/ Slovenia. There we came third in Sprint and H2H and second in Slalom and downriver, so we got silver Overall.
The next competition we participated in was the Euro Cup and Italian Championship in Aosta. It was an interesting race against the slightly stronger U23 team of Great Britain. There we got the big notice that we can participate at the WRC in UAE. From this moment on we started to train hard.”
It is a great honour to compete in the World Rafting Championship, how do you feel about it?
“We are elated about going to the WRC. We were surprised about our fast improvement, one year ago we never expected that we may go to Al Ain. Now we are very excited and motivated to train a lot.”
How does your team prepare for the competition?
“We are training in natural rivers every free three hours we have and everyone is doing a short workout every day. In October we will train in Ivrea together with the other national teams, because there is an appropriate canal and we don’t have any closer possibility.”
Ivrea is more than a great place, one of the best courses in Europe. Great place for training.
Will you be able to come earlier to the competition to prepare?
“Yes, we will come one day before the official WRC starts.”
What will be your tactics in achieving results in this competition?
“Our tactics are a secret… ;) “
:D You can not blame me for trying!
“We are glad about every other team in our category because it motivates us to give it all and to fight. It makes the race more interesting. We don’t know the other teams yet and we will see there who will be our biggest opponent.”
Do you have any expectations as far as the results? And what are your expectations generally?
“Obviously we would like to get a medal, but it’s really hard for us to evaluate the strength of our opponents. Because of our results at the ERC, we think that our aim may be possible.”
Which discipline does your team like the most?
”Our team likes slalom most, because it requires good teamwork and technique. Downriver is also one of our favourites.”
“We run 100 meters with the boat every training and we train our legs too.”
How does your team relax after a hard training session?
“We discuss our training and lie on the boat until the air is out. We sometimes go to eat together and watch some videos.”
Is there something particular you want to see and experience in the UAE?
“We hope to meet a lot of people from all over the world and hope to see also something of the UAE as a country. We want to gain broad experience.”
Team Sponsors you’d like to thank?
“King Of The Alps and the Italian Rafting Federation.
And we want to say a big thank you to our trainer, Felix Pirhofer, and our Open Women’s team (DRD4 Ladies) for their support and that they share their experience with us. Furthermore we are thankful for the good collaboration with the teams of Sterzing.”
Thanks Sarah. We wish you a lot of fun and a good stroke at this, your first WRC.
Another great generation coming out of this club, and they will have a great future in the IRF. I had the opportunity to see them at all the competitions this year and I like their cheerful spirit and determination. Being so young and to have a chance to collect experience from a WRC competition is an incredible privilege which they have fought for. The Italians have a great, expert team in them, and, with their coach, everything will be a bit easier.