by Ely Galleani MONACO. On November 13th, 2015 in Lima, Peru, during theWorld Championships FISA Coastal Rowing, two athletes who competed for the red&white colors of the Société Nautique de Monaco have won the gold medal, exceeding the Spanish crew for 30 seconds. This year, the same team of the monegasque Quentin Antognelli (just 22 years old) and the Italian Giuseppe Alberti, took home another important medal, a bronze in the Men’s Double Sculls (CM2x) Final of the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Monaco. We have interviewed Quentin Antognelli in the headquarters of the Societe Nautique de Monaco. He said: “It is really cool. In the rowing discipline the result counts but the pleasure of paddling together, to participate is essential.” and he continued speaking about his Italian origins. “My great-grandparents were born in Italy, in the Lake Trasimeno region, in Umbria. Sport has always been important in my family. My father as a young man and my uncle Michel were nice fencers. Later, my father represented the Société Nautique de Monaco as a rower until 1972. Later, he became the Sport Director of he Rowing sector. He taught me the basics and he trained also Prince Albert, who in 2005 and in 2006 competed in the first two editions of the Prince Albert II Challenge”. In 2004, when he was just 10 years old, Quentin debuted in Italy at the Piediluco Students National Day. In 2008, he was second in Varese in the 2X with Federico Garibaldi. “I was a child in the junior team. In 2007, just 13 years old, I had the chance to meet some of the best coaches in the world. During the world Rowing Championships in Monaco of Bavaria, they used to track the athletes competing in water, cycling along the path 2 km long. That day I rowed many kilometers and I got a lot of advices! In 2012 in Bulgaria, I was seventh in the 2X in the Junior World Championships. In 2013, during the Mediterranean Games I rowed with Mathias Raymond, eight years older than me, who represented the Principality in two Olympics. I was in a awe, my only goal was to be strong like him.”
- Quentin, what are your feelings about the upcoming World Championships in Rio.
- “To represent his country it is the best thing that can happen to an athlete. It is a great honor, the ultimate goal. I am proud to have led, in 2011 for the first time, the Monaco’s flag to the Eton Junior Championships in England. An unforgettable moment.”
- Can you tell us some anecdotes.
A.”When I was still Junior, in July 2010, I was chosen to represent, with my Italian friend Raffaele Daniele, the colors of France in the competition against England and …. we won! An Italian and a Monegasque… imagine! Another time, during a competition in Genoa Pra, my boat was swamped by a flood, we went down into the water, we emptied the boat, we got back and we still won the second place.”
- What is the feeling to be part of a team.
- “Together on a boat for the first time, as soon as you climb in the boat you become one for all! Personally, I love to row alone, but as soon as I find myself paddling with others in the same boat, the common desire is just to win.”
- How much is difficult to row with a coaxswain on board.
- “The weight! I am joking: in fact his role is very important because he is encouraging…but it is much better if he is a skinny man!”
We are yet laughing, as Quentin’s father, Jean Louis Antognelli, Sports Director of the Societe Nautique de Monaco, and Gilbert Vivaldi, General Secretary of the Rowing Federation of Monaco, join us. We talk about the Championships in Monaco. “The world Rowing Championships is very demanding in terms of organization and mobilization, we greatly cooperated with the Yacht Club and with the administrative authorities. Even though we have the experience of the previous races of the Prince Albert II Challenge, we had to take into account a major influx of boats and people: 250 crews for 2/3 days. The whole side of the harbor in front of the Société Nautique de Monaco and the Yacht Club has been taken. We were able to organize a good timing for the races so that everyone can row and try to enter the final. The matches of the first day serve to qualify the crews, who take to the sea in groups of 15 boats every two hours, divided in a fair calculation that puts them all on the same level. The Sea Rowing is a wonderful discipline that has only existed for 25 years and that requires a lot of care in the organization. To accomplish this you need the help of many volunteers, around 150 people. We also made totally safe the path of the race, from the Port Hercule up around Cap Martin. We organized a catering on the harbor promenade, on the Lucciana dam, with tents and tables to accommodate about 1,000 people who participated to this terrific event. Hotels and restaurants around the Port Hercule opened their doors at special prices to accommodate the most of all teams, officials and referees FISA and all the international media following the event.”
- The Societe Nautique de Monaco and the Rowing Federation of Monaco have wanted this appointment for how long.
A.”As soon as, in 2005, the Prince Albert II Challenge was born! Immediately, we realized that we could host a more important competition, with more crews.”
Finally, we ask Quentin Antognelli about his greatest dream. “I would like to become one of the 6 best rowing sportsmen in the world in the under 23 category. I am training myself with the French team in Lyon. I engage myself totally”
We greet this young man to become the great champion he wishes to be very soon. He surely worths to succeed.