Italian Under 23 Rowers Break Germany’s 15 Year Run

By Melissa Bray, Switzerland
July 31 2007

Four gold medals for Italy at the 2007 World Rowing Under
23 Championships spelt the end of Germany’s 15-year domination
of the U23 regatta. The Paolo d’Aloja Challenge Cup for the top
country overall had been in German hands since 1991 and through
the competition’s evolution from Match des Seniors (1976-1991), to
Nations Cup (1992-2000), to World U23 Regatta (2001-2003), to World
Rowing U23 Regatta (2004), to championship event (since 2005).

Italy’s lightweight men’s quad test the medals

In its third year as a championship event Strathclyde, Scotland hosted
over 700 athletes from 52 nations. At the end of the competition
Italy had taken away six medals including gold in the women’s four
(Anna Bonciani, Cristna Romiti, Carlotta Baratto, Anita Pinto), men’s
coxed four (Leopoldo Sansore, Vincenzo Capelli, Romano Battisti,
Andrea Palmisano, Leonardo Bellucci), lightweight men’s pair (Andrea
Caianiello, Armando Dell’Aquila) and the only crew to set a new
under 23 World Best Time at Strathclyde, the lightweight men’s quad
(Matteo Amigoni, Filippo Manfredi, Antonio Pizzurro, Daniele Danesin).

This year saw a more even medal spread than in former years with
20 countries earning medals. Last year, of the 20 events Germany
won medals in 12 of them. This year Germany finished up fourth on
the medals table with two gold medals. Also down in the rankings
was Romania who last year finished third but this year could only
manage15th =.

Behind Italy, New Zealand placed second overall with four medals, three
of them gold. The New Zealanders almost managed a clean sweep of the
single sculling events by winning the men’s single (Joseph Sullivan),
women’s single (Emma Twigg) as well as the lightweight men’s single
(Storm Uru).

Greece pulled in at third by earning three gold medals. Germany
finished with a total of ten medals, but as only two of them were
gold they ranked fourth overall.

Strathclyde recorded the largest number of competitors ever at an under
23 world event. The youngest competitor was Italy’s coxswain for the
men’s eight, Simone Peraz who was 13 years old. The youngest rowers
were all 17 years old and included Lithuania’s Nerijus Vasiliauskas,
Sargis Gharabaghtsyan of Armenia and Paschalina Karamytiliou of Greece.