In the 200-meter sprint canoe he is considered among the best in the world. Five years ago in Rio de Janeiro he finished sixth
The countdown for Manfredi Rizza’s debut at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad has officially begun.
If the Games will be inaugurated tomorrow in Tokyo with the opening ceremony, the champion from Pavia will have to wait until the Japanese morning of 4 August (when it will still be late at night in Italy) to go down to the Sea Forest Waterway, not far from the city center. , for the batteries of the K1 200 meters.
Five years after the adventure in Rio de Janeiro, which ended with the sixth place in the final, Rizza will finally find the Olympic appointment. If in Brazil the blue had been the youngest athlete in the race for medals, today, at the age of 30, the Pavese seems to have reached full sporting maturity in a four-year period, the one between 2018 and 2021, which seen to climb the ranking of the world canoe year after year.
the ascent in lranking
After qualifying the boat with fifth place at the 2019 World Championships, Rizza used the forced break of 2020 to work hard on his technical and physical preparation, arriving in a state of grace in a season, the current one, which until now he has already given him a bronze medal in the World Cup, fifth place at the European Championships, and the absolute continental title in the non-Olympic 200 meters K2 race, together with his rival friend Andrea Di Liberto.
And precisely with Andrea Di Liberto, Manfredi Rizza has worked in recent weeks in Pusiano (LC), for years the privileged venue for the rallies of the Pavia champion. Under the supervision of federal coach Stefano Loddo, the blue is now taking care of the final details of the preparation before leaving for Japan, which will take place on Sunday from Rome. Once he arrives in Tokyo, he will still have a few days to get used to the competition field, already successfully tested in September 2019 during the test event.
«My goal is certainly to do better than Rio. I am superstitious but I am not afraid to say that I want to play for a medal », declared Rizza after the success at the European Championships.
a ruthless competition
Sn the road to the podium the competition will be fierce: the number one favorite is the British Liam Heath, Olympic champion and reigning world champion, who in the last 5 years has given up the 200m scepter only on one occasion. In addition to Heath there will also be the European Champion, the Hungarian Sandor Totka, the French Maxime Beaumont, silver in Rio de Janeiro, and the timeless champions Saul Craviotto (in his fourth Olympics) and Ronald Rauhe (now in his sixth participation in five circles after his debut in Sydney 2000), tied thirds in Rio, and in search of their fifth Olympic medal in Tokyo.
one last tribute
Craviotto and Rahue will also be involved in the K4 500 meters race, in the eternal challenge between Germany and Spain, which could take away important energy from them in view of the individual race. In addition to the well-known names, even outsiders, often unexpected protagonists of the Olympic events, cannot be underestimated. And the Tokyo Olympics will be the last five-circle review that will see the 200-meter K1 race in the program, introduced at the London Games in 2012, and sacrificed to give space to the extreme slalom specialty starting from 2024. The 200 meters have consecrated Rizza to the elite of the world canoe and in Japan the Pavese will try to pay homage to this distance, inserting his name in this last page of history.john bishops