Italy Open Men ready for WRC 2016

ita-5-2016The R4 raft of the Italian Open Men’s team has a mix of the older, experienced paddlers at the back and the young, new forces in the front. This winning combination is made up of the Tyrolean men who have dominated on the national level. Patrick Agostini (front right), Roberto Schifferle (captain and back right),Thomas Waldner (back left), Alexander Zanella (front left) and Amadeus Schifferle (the son of Roberto and reserve), are members of this team and they will participate in the R4 World Rafting Championship in the UAE, at the end of this month. Stefano Pellin, from Aosta Valley, the Coach of the Italian Rafting Federation (Federazione Italiana Rafting), will be there to guide them through the competition.

ita-2016-2Patrick set aside some of his time to introduce us to the team and answer some of our questions. And first we asked him to give us a brief history of the team.

“We are all from South Tyrol, a region in the North of Italy next to the border to Austria, that’s also the reason we can talk German and Italian. Roberto is the pioneer of rafting in our area and he started to raft about 30 years ago. Alexander and Patrick were part of the Italian youth team since 2011 and started to race in the category OPEN in 2012 in Lipno at the R6 ERC for the first time. The R4 team is now racing since 2014 together. Our first big international race was the ERC in Cunovo (SVK) where we got 2 bronze medals in Sprint and Downriver. Although Roberto and Thomas are racing since rafting became international (Camel White Water Challenge and all WRCs) and travelled almost all the planet, none of us has ever been to UAE before :) So we are stoked to see the country.”

ita-2-2016Patrick, half of the teams that will be coming to the UAE you had the opportunity to see at the ERC competition in Slovenia, do you think this helps you in preparing tactics for the WRC?

“We have been racing now for some years at international races and we know which are the strong teams in the rafting world. At the ERC we did not do very well and we saw in which sector we have to improve to be competitive.”

Do you have any expectations related to the result?

“In every race we try to do our best, we want to give 110%. When we cross the finish line we don’t want to have any regrets, this is our philosophy. Our target is to move close to medals, but we know that we need a perfect day and some luck to get one :) Two members of the team are students in Austria. Thomas isn’t living in our city so it is not easy to organize a lot of training sessions during the week. We always use the weekend to paddle together and on the other days we train alone with the kayak.”

ita-4-2016How do you prepare for the competition? Do you practise running with a raft, as it will be part of Downriver?

“In winter we spent a lot of time in the gym, especially because of the cold temperatures in our area. In Spring we started to train on the river and sometimes we ran with the boat next to the river. In Cunovo the Downriver consisted also of running with the boat so we know exactly that the race is going to be painful :/ “

I saw that at Čunovo you were training with the German teams, how did that come about? Are the Germans a good sparring team? 

“We benefit from the friendship with the guys from Augsburg. Roberto and Thomas have been close friends with them for many years. At the World Cup in Wildalpen (AUSTRIA) this year we planned to have a weekend together in Cunovo to work together and compare our level of performance. It was a good experience and we want to repeat it.”

ita-3-2016Will you be able to go earlier to the UAE to prepare?

“We are heading to UAE on the 26 of October to have some extra training before the official training days start and to enjoy the Arabic sun :) “

Is there something particular you want to see and experience in the UAE?

“For one day we will stay in Dubai and we will visit the city but after that we go immediately to Al Ain.”

ita-6-2016Anyone you want to thank?

“We want to thank:

ita-7-2016Thanks for your time Patrick – see you in the UAE!

I was surprised with the performance of this team at EC Italy this year, much better than at the ERC in Slovenia. The start in the Sprint and H2H was so powerful and strong that left me speechless and it brought them first place. I cannot wait to see that start at the WRC competition. Judging how teams are preparing for this competition indicates that this will be the most interesting WRC competition so far. Not an easy task to get in front of this team, so we wish them a good stroke and to enjoy it in the UAE.

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