Italy come on six at the Paralympic Athletics World Championships. Two golds, one silver and three bronzes in 48 for the blue squadron in the world championship in Paris, an appetizer of what will be next summer with the Paralympic Games. If on Wednesday it was the 100 meters of heart and determination signed by the Ghanaian-born sprinter Maxcel Amo Manu who drove the blue staff crazy, gold among the T64s after he thought in 2017 that his life had slipped out of his hands due to a road accident that he had deprived him of his left leg, yesterday a dream five arrived.
The trio were dropped by the blue tartan Charlie's Angels, the three queens of Tokyo, who repeated the same order of arrival of the last Paralympics in the 100m T63: gold and world record for Ambra Sabatini (13"98) , silver for Martina Caironi (14”35) and bronze for Monica Contrafatto (14”67). A day that opened and closed with two bronzes in the visually impaired categories: the long-distance captain Assunta Legnante began in the F11 disc), Valentina Petrillo finished in the 400 T12, becoming the first Italian transgender athlete to win a world championship medal.
Euphoric Ambra Sabatini after even snatching the lead from her partner and rival Caironi by 4 cents: I have no words, I didn't expect it at all, it was a very difficult race. I have yet to realize that I set the record, it was a goal I've been looking for for a long time. I arrived here with a lot of tension, because the girls have been busy all season, I have taken them left and right after Tokyo and, instead, here I am. I reconfirmed and it's great because it was difficult. They have improved a lot, Martina had made an incredible record and I have tried to get closer several times, Monica has made the staff this year, we have all grown a lot ».
Caironi adds: «Many things have changed since Tokyo because two years are a long time, but we are still here and still in the same position. It was a high-level race, personally I'm not satisfied, there was probably a bit of stiffness. The emotion is still there after so many years, especially when you're the one to beat, but I'm still happy to have been beaten like this, because I think it's the only way to be able to digest it. This is how it went here, the start seemed pretty good to me. Not having Amber nearby and seeing her out of the corner of my eye, at a certain point I began to think, but in the 100 of her you shouldn't think ». Personal redemption in Paris can come as early as tomorrow in the long jump: «The positive thing is that from a small disappointment I can draw out the energy for a head race in the long jump».
The look of the Contrafatto mother hen goes even further: «We are the three marvels of Italian Paralympic athletics and I hope we will be for a long time to come. This year I did the staff at 42, so the physique still holds up. Now holidays and then in September we will start our year again immersed in training and if God wants, we will meet again in Paris ».
And if Legnante had brightened up the blue morning, Petrillo closed it with a flourish with the first medal of his career on the threshold of 50 years, to crown a journey of challenges and bureaucracies, victories and firsts, which in recent years have turned the spotlight on about her, as we told you last month in an exclusive interview published on our pages. The Neapolitan is the first transgender athlete to tread the world podium, as well as celebrate the (non-nominal) slot won for the Paris 2024 Paralympics: «It was a fantastic day, my first medal in the Paralympic world. I'm a little sad because I was hoping for silver. I got off to a better start than yesterday, but I had yesterday's 400 on my legs and when I had to change pace at 150, I didn't make it. I saw the Venezuelan late in lane 1, I tried to recover but there was nothing more to do. Beyond all that prejudices may be, one cannot make a comparison with what I was as a male because I would not have done all of this. You can't compare a Fabrizio who didn't want to live with a Valentina who wants to live, to win, to race».
Then a special thought: «I dedicate the medal to the president of the Cip Luca Pancalli, because in a very difficult moment a few months ago he called me and supported me, to Sandrino Porru (president of Fispes; ed) because he was the first person to whom i said i am a transgender person. To my dad at home who follows me with so much love and in particular to my little Lorenzo who is at home». And he sends a further message to his son: «Love, did you see that daddy made it and brought home the medal, I hope you are proud of me even if you have a trans dad. Dad loves you too much and comes home soon with the medal.'