Canoe marathon, everyone stop… a ship is passing


ROME – An episode like this had never been seen or heard in many years of Italian canoeing history, if not worldwide. In our lives as reporters, we have received news of several races being suspended or postponed due to weather conditions, football games being suspended due to a lighting glitch, bike races being suspended at the level crossing closed for a train to pass through, from Mountain bikers surrounded by packs of wild dogs and chased down steep trails, but never by what happened on Sunday March 12: about 150 boys and girls in the water, on board their boats while fighting each other with paddles to win the tricolor canoe marathon titles are stopped by the judges because… a merchant ship has to enter port a few hundred yards from the competition field. This is what happened on Sunday morning at the Corno estuary in San Giorgio di Nogaro in the province of Udine, where the Italian marathon championship was held. On the second day of competition everything went according to plan. At around 11am the descents of the second block of competition reserved for K2 and K1 Masters began, but almost at the end of the first lap we witnessed a scene that was downright surreal: as the male and female athletes engaged in a ‘toe-to- toe” approaches that they passed before the finish line were asked to stop by the race judges with both gestures and loud voices. Many of the canoeists thought it was a joke, also because there were no visible dangers. Some even went a few meters further, propelled by the kinetic energy imparted to their canoes. Eventually, however, all the kayaks were docked at the pontoons along the riverbanks. The reason for this sudden decision was quickly known: The head of the local harbor master’s office had issued and imposed the “everything ashore” due to the maneuvers of a ship and its tugboat that was about to enter the dock in a few minutes. The races were therefore suspended and resumed in the early afternoon. Now, apart from the understandable annoyance of the numerous participants for the useless effort, forced to set off again a few hours later (we are talking about races lasting about an hour and a half and distances between 20 and 24 km depending on the category, including the two transshipments with the running canoes on our shoulders), some thoughts come to us spontaneously. First of all we have to think about the safety of the athletes in the competition, right, but couldn’t the maneuvers of a ship near a competition field be anticipated in time and consequently the departures organized at different times? Some of the athletes involved then had to forgo the postponed races that same Sunday afternoon because they were forced to head home with their lights on. Sometimes even thousands of kilometers away (from Udine to Palermo it is over 1,500 kilometers and it takes around 17 hours by car). Imagine the frustration of athletes, coaches, executives and towed relatives who drove thousands of kilometers and then, after months of hard training, didn’t have the opportunity to fight for an Italian title. And this consideration raises another question: Federcanoa could not organize an Italian championship, which usually involves clubs from all over Italy (530 athletes from 74 clubs were registered in San Giorgio di Nogaro), in a slightly less isolated place ? As reported by athletes from different regions, the hospitality of the organizing club, Canoa San Giorgio, was impeccable. But why do Sicilian and Sardinian canoeists have to make arduous journeys all over the peninsula and also take a ferry (kayaks and canoes do not travel by plane but by equipped trolleys) to take part in an Italian championship? In the past, regattas were held halfway down the Arno near Florence, precisely to meet the needs of the various canoe companies scattered throughout the national territory. Well, we would like next year’s Italian championship to take place in equally beautiful and hospitable places. Several places come to mind: we take the liberty of proposing one or better two, always in Sardinia. The Saline Natural Park near Cagliari and another natural paradise near Oristano, the Cabras Pond, one of the most important wetlands in Sardinia and cradle of many good young canoeists who train in the nearby Canottieri Oristano. One of her coaches, Andrea Lilliu, who is currently on the blue team and in charge of the women’s group, was awarded Best Coach in Italy at the Canoeing Golden Gala last year. Here, in these natural oases, the only risk is that you will not be blocked by a ship of hundreds of tons of tonnage, but by a group of pink flamingos and mallards. sorry if little

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *