Italian rowing looks to 72-year-old La Mura again for Rio 2016 inspiration

Sunday, 06 January 2013
By Mike Rowbottom

Giuseppe La Mura of ItalyJanuary 6 - Italian rowing, which managed to earn just one medal - a silver - at the London 2012 Olympics, has placed its faith once again in the talents of Giuseppe La Mura (pictured) as it seeks to improve its showing in the Olympic cycle leading to Rio 2016.

The 72-year-old coach, who stepped down from the position in the wake of the 2004 Athens Games, has been re-appointed with the task of motivating and improving the national squad, whose only podium finish at the Eton Dorney course was provided in the double sculls, where Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti finished second behind the New Zealand pairing of Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan.

La Mura supervised a highly successful competition for Italy at the 2000 Sydney Games, where Sartori teamed up with Agostino Abbagnale, Rossano Galtarossa and Simone Raineri to win the quadruple sculls, and the team also won two silvers and a bronze.

But La Mura - named World Rowing Coach of the Year in 2003 - was unable to deliver the same level of success in Athens, where Italy had to be content with three bronze medals, and he left his position in 2005.

Romano Battisti and Alessio Sartori of Italy London 2012Romano Battisti and Alessio Sartori earned Italy their only medal in rowing during London 2012

"We could not have the luxury of giving up a great resource for the revival of the Italian rowing as Dr La Mura," said the Italian Rowing Federation President Joseph Abbagnale.

"Our homeland needs to start immediately after eight very difficult years.

"With great professionalism and expertise, our technical director and his team will support our boys and our girls, constantly motivating them and providing them with the right technical tools to meet the challenges of the future and lead us to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro."

Agostino Abbagnale offered a glimpse of La Mura's motivational power when he spoke after the victory in Sydney, which earned him a third Olympic gold after a quadruple sculls win at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and another victory in the double sculls at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

"My third medal was the most hard earned," said Abbagnale.

"I didn't think I'd manage it.

"In January I wanted to give up.

"But in the end the coach La Mura convinced me.

"We spent an entire day in a bar in Terni, with him telling me I could do it... and now I'm here with another gold around my neck."

Contact the writer of this story at mike.rowbottom@insidethegames.biz
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