silver for Italy at the Tokyo Olympics –

from Flavio Vanetti

After the splendid feat against Hungary in the semifinals Luca Curatoli, Aldo Montano and Enrico Berr give up clearly to the Asians in the final for gold

The splendid gallop of the sabers against everything, predictions, injuries and very tough opponents crashes against South Korea, the nation that for some years has imposed its yoke on the cutting weapon: 45 to 26 the score. He was the dreaded monster at the end of the level and we didn’t pass that one: unfortunately he ate us. But there remains the memory of a shiny silver medal, which is added to those of Gigi Samele in the individual test and that of Daniele Garozzo in the foil, as well as the bronze of the swordsmen: the Olympic title is still missing, all right, but the fencing brings his partial loot to four – with three finals played, even if lost – and certainly not a little.

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Aldo Montano at his last Olympics

This podium, however, must be read first of all in the key of Aldo Montano, the 43-year-old champion of many battles who after this last adventure will leave fencing. Just like it happens in swimming with Federica Pellegrini, with whom she shared her Olympic debut in Athens 2004: she was second in the 200 meters, Aldo won individual gold and team silver. For both there is also the mark of one presence in five consecutive editions of the Games: a wonderful example of continuity, a legacy for those who, today, are studying “to become champion. It matters little if Montano failed in another enterprise: that of imitate his father Mario Aldo, which in 1972 was Olympic gold with the team.

The shots of mastery and experience

Aldo was also a protagonist in Tokyo: he was a reserve, but he had to shoot against Hungarians and Koreans for the injury of Gigi Samele. If we reached the final we owe it also to him and to the strokes of mastery and experience he placed. his fifth podium at the Games: in 2004 he had already been second with the team, together with which he then won bronze in Beijing and London. left dry just in Rio, where he was eliminated in the individual and where the collective competition was not there. As for not having done as dad in Munich, never mind: the accounts in the family – he always said in unsuspected times – have already been settled for quite a while: my gold in Athens is worth a little more than his because he is individual and mine alone.

The match against Iran

Yes, it was an exhilarating day, in the sign of this out and following the trend of swinging emotions that the saber can give. The quarterfinal match against Iran It was a planned trip to hell because the Middle East has long been troubling us. Fortunately, there was a way to find the way that led to seeing the stars again, but how much suffering. Minimal chronicle to understand. L’Italy took off with a bang (5-0 by Berr against Rahbari), but immediately encountered the first major obstacle: in the second attack Gigi Samele got himself a muscle trouble (hit a buttock) and, while holding on, he could not avoid the collapse: partial 10-4 for Pakdaman, the best of the Iranians, and the score reversed (9-10). Berr brought us back (6-2 against Abedini), Samele tried to try again but lost again (5-7), Curatoli did not go beyond 5-5 in the fifth round of the match, Italy ahead by only 1 jab (25-24). Two other excellent rounds from Berr and a draw from Samele they had given the expected turning point: 40-33, an ideal springboard for Curatoli to close without worries. But it was only a pious illusion because the Neapolitan happened in the classic black out of a fencer: suddenly, the darkness. Pakdaman recovered point by point and came to impact 44-44. All in one thrust, a Russian roulette that Luca won by choosing the most direct way: decisive and immediate attack and only one light on, the one that rewarded him.

The semifinal against Hungary

The thrills and roller coaster rides continued in the semi-final against Hungary: unavoidable, moreover, we are talking about the nation that includes tri-Olympian Aron Szilagyi and former world champion Andras Szatmari among its ranks as well as a big man “tough and dangerous like Tamas Decsi. The Azzurri tamed it 45-43 at the end of a comeback that will remain in the history of our Italian fencing. In the central part, Italy went down twice by 6 hits and after the conclusion of 6 attacks out of 9 lost 30-25. Almost a sentence against the number 2 of the world ranking. But the Azzurri did not break down and here it was also consumed Montano’s second masterpiece. Aldo had entered for the muscle injury of Gigi Samele (the silver of the individual test had already stretched in the painful quarterfinal match with Iran) and had made his attack against Szatmari his own. It was repeated also beating Decsi 7-5 and bringing the team back in the wake (32-35). Then Berr – on a day of grace – placed an 8-4 in Szatmari and Italy started ahead (40-39) on the last lap. It was needed for an extreme effort against Szilagyi’s class: Luca Curatoli, redeeming some empty passages of the day, was up to the situation and beat the tri-Olympian by 5-4. He also had a little help from fate, on 43-43: only the light of the blue came on on the attack of the Hungarian. But from the replay Szilagyi had touched. Upon verification, the weapon did not repeat the defect and so the point went to Italy.

Paris 2024

Sometimes we go far also thanks to technological bugs, but this does not change the value of the team’s achievement, also because the strike of 45-43 was a real gesture of skill by Curatoli. Just like the blow that brought the Iranians to their knees. Aldo Montano after admitting the toughness of the mission that had been assigned to him (Curatoli from the bottom of the platform urged him on shouting as much as I could and he knew that these incitements were what was needed in a scenario that was not simple for me) thus had the certainty that his Olympic epilogue would be crowned with a fifth medal at the Games. He was asked if, by chance, he wasn’t teased by the idea of ​​arriving in Paris 2024. Answer: In Paris he played the role of Gianluca Farinelli. the arms officer.

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July 28, 2021 (change July 28, 2021 | 13:22)

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