SASSARI. For Sardinia, Tokyo 2020 (even if we are in 2021) is a record-breaking Olympics. In fact, there are eleven Sardinian athletes for whom we will cheer in front of the TV in the coming weeks: 4 females and 7 males. It had gone better only in Rome in 1960: 14 Sardinians called up, however, thanks to the beautiful anomaly of the presence of nine athletes from the men’s field hockey team, ex officio qualified because Italy was the host country. Seven calls for the Olympics in Mexico City ’68 and Munich ’72.
Now, a qualitative leap even compared to the recent past. Suffice it to say that in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 only one Sardinian was called up. There were just two at the nearby London Games in 2012, while in Rio di Janeiro in 2016 six flew: the cyclist Fabio Aru (sixth at the finish after working for Nibali, who fell in the final descent), the volleyball player Alessia Orro, the shooter Luigi Lodde from Ozieri, the tank top Stefano Oppo, the synchronized Francesca Deidda and the boxer Manuel Cappai.
But who are the Sardinian Magnificent Eleven of Tokyo 2020? It starts with the veterans. For the volleyball player from Oristano Alessia Orro, the rower Stefano Oppo and the synchronette Francesca Deidda it is a happy return. All three have in fact already participated in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. The other eight, on the other hand, are all in their absolute debut.
Stefano Oppo, rowing. Encore for the Oristano singlet. After Rio 2016 (he finished fourth, at the foot of the podium) here is Tokyo. Paired with Pietro Willy Ruta he will compete in the men’s double lightweight. Oppo arrives in Japan with the silver he won a few months ago in the World Cup, always together with Ruta. Not to mention the three silver world championships (Sarasota 2017, Poznan 2018, Linz 2019), one silver (Lucerne 2019) and two bronze medals (Racice 2017, Glasgow 2018) at European level and also one gold in the World Cup (Linz 2018).
Francesca Deidda, synchronized swimming.
Francesca, from Cagliari, is the Sardinian mermaid of synchronized swimming. This is also the second time for her at the Olympic Games after Rio 2016 and fifth place with the Italian team, a team that is constantly growing in the world ranking. Now she tries again after having conquered with her teammates in 2019 in Gwamgju, South Korea, the first historic team world championship medal.
Alessia Orro, volleyball. Second time also for the volleyball player from Narbolia (Oristano), 23 years old celebrated last Sunday with a cake and the soundtrack of Raffella Carrà at Casa Italia, where the blue volleyball players were among the first to arrive. With the Italian national team Alessia boasts in 2015 a gold medal at the under 18 world championships and a bronze medal at the under 20 world championships, to which is added the debut in the senior national team, with which she played in the Rio 2016 Olympics. a silver in the 2017 Grand Prix, and a bronze in the 2019 European Championships. Italian volleyball has a great tradition, the goal is to improve.
Filippo Tortu, 100 meters. Born in Milan, his DNA is in Tempio where his father Salvino (who is also his coach) was born and where he returns every summer, while he has chosen Olbia for training in the summer. He is an honorary citizen and has Sardinia tattooed on his skin. Filippo, 23, the first Italian to have dropped below 10 seconds in the 100 meters, thus canceling a record that belonged to Pietro Mennea since 1979, will race in Tokyo in his specialty and in the relay. For him it is the first time at the Olympics.
Andrea Agrusti, marcia. Sassarese, 26, won the pass for the Games thanks to the grueling 50 kilometers at the last team European Championships in the Czech Republic. “I still don’t believe it, I’ve been waiting for this moment for years,” his first words after reaching the finish line.
Dalia Kaddari, 200 meters.
Di Quartu, 20, is the absolute Italian champion of the 200 meters. At the European Championships in Tallin under 23, in June, he won gold by signing his new staff in the 200 meters: 22.64, the third Italian time ever. Raised at the Tespiense Quartu and now at the Fiamme Oro, she qualified for the 200 meters and for the 4×100 relay. Attentive to the environment, she is about to enroll in university.
Wanderson Rijo Polanco, 4×100.
Born in Santo Domingo and Cagliari on his mother’s side, he is in the group of the 4×100 relay. Raised at Amsicora Cagliari and now at Riccardi Milano, he shows up in Tokyo with a staff of 10.26.
Lorenzo Patta, 4×100. From Atletica Oristano to the Fiamme Gialle, the sprinter arrives in Tokyo with his seasonal staff of 10”13 in the 100 meters established in May at the Savona meeting, the seventh best Italian performance of all time. In 2019 he won silver at the under 20 European championships with the 4 × 100 racing in the last fraction.
Marta Maggetti, windsurfing. Absolute debut for the 25-year-old from Cagliari, who qualified for female windsurfing Rs: X and is indicated by many as the heir of Alessandra Sensini. Marta learned to be on the board as a child and proved to be the promise of the blue sail in 2013 with the victory at the World Youth Championships. Very reserved, she is a girl of great character.
Marco Spissu, basketball.
First time at the Olympics also for the Dinamo playmaker. Sassarese, 26, made his first team debut at 16 against Olimpia Milano. In the 2018-19 season he won the Fiba Europe Cup, the Sassari’s first European title and nearly won the Scudetto, reaching game 7 against Reyer Venezia and at the end he will be voted as the best Italian player in the playoffs. On 18 May 2019, on the occasion of game 1 of the playoff quarterfinals against Brindisi, he made 11 assists, his current career record in Lega A.
Davide Ruiu, weightlifting.
Sassarese like Agrusti and Spissu, just 20 years old, he is the youngest of the Sardinian expedition and also of that of his specialty, weight lifting. European junior champion in 2019, bronze at the last European Championships in the momentum with 158 kilos lifted, to compete in Tokyo he will have to undergo a strict diet to fall into the 61 kilos category. “No sacrifice, for the Olympics I would do this and more”.