08/03/2021   Ostia e Grottaglie (ITA): the wind takes, the wind returns.


Riccardo Orsoni and Mariavittoria Becchetti two young promises of the Italian race walk have completed a similar way since January 2021, of successes, small disappointments, battles against Aeolus and finally the day of days in that of Grottaglie (ITA).
The lowest common denominator was the wind, that wind that in Ostia in the penultimate week of January had denied them the small satisfactions and to Mariavittoria the entry standard to the Olympics.



Riccardo Orsoni
A Sunday to remember that of Riccardo Orsoni in Grottaglie (Taranto).
With the fourth place obtained in the 20km Riccardo Orsoni presents himself today as the confirmation of a new hope of race walking in Italy.
For the young U23 (born on 20.1.2000) today coached by Alessandro Gandellini, but in his youth by Roberto Cervi, the result obtained yesterday in Grottaglie represents the new personal best.
His progression in the 20km is as follows

  Performance Place Date
2021 1:23:53 Grottaglie (ITA) 07 MAR 2021
2019 1:28:17 Gioiosa Marea (ITA) 27 JAN 2019
2018 1:29:38 Roma (ITA) 04 MAR 2018


A progression in the 20km Olympic discipline that led him to climb the World and European lists.
In 2018, still U20 he was 25th in the World list, but 3rd in the European one
In 2019, still U20, he was 24th in the World list, but 2nd in the European one. 2019 is the year of consecration also at European level when, in Boras (SWE) on the 10,000m track walk, he arrives 2nd at the European U20 Championships (41:51.71) after winning the European Cup two months earlier in Alytus (LTU) for U20 on 10km road walk (42:43)
In 2020, in his first year since U23, he establishes in Modena the new personal best on the 10km road walk in 41:02 which is the litmus test of his progress. Despite the change in category, this performance places him in 64th position in the world ranking (27th if only the U23s are considered) and in 25th position in the European one (6th if only U23s are considered).
But things change from January 2021.
Already the first signal of a beautiful Olympic distance change on 20km it had arrived in the storm of the southwest wind of Ostia (Rome) on 23.2.2021 when, despite everything, he had managed to obtain a filing of the personal best from 1:28:17 to 1:28:04.
We had already said and confirmed that the wind had affected the performances of that day from 2:30 to 3:30 depending on the physical conformation of the athlete, but we would never have thought that Riccardo Orsoni yesterday in Grottaglie lowered his limit of 4:11.
Today Orsoni is in 36th position in the World list (6th if only the U23s are considered) and in 17th position in the European one (4th if only U23s are considered).
And in the year in which the U23 European Championships will take place this is an excellent goal to achieve.


Mariavittoria Becchetti
If for Riccardo Orsoni yesterday's Sunday is to remember that of Mariavittoria (Mavi for friends) Becchetti is the crowning of a dream.
With the third place obtained in the 20km the Olympic dare dream is approaching even if, due to today's abundance in the women's sector, as well as being great news, it will complicate the choices of the coach Antonio La Torre a bit. But these complications are welcomed, and remind us of the 1997 ones of CT Sandro Damilano with the quartet (to be reduced to a trio) Elisabetta Perrone, Erica Alfridi, Rossella Giordano and Anna Rita Sidoti, and we all know how it ended.
Now times have changed, the top women's movement is almost monopolized by China, but there is also room for Brazil, Spain and Italy.
And it is precisely at "Casa Italia" that Mariavittoria Becchetti bursts very quickly in the storm of Ostia from January 2021.
For her too, her progression in the Olympic distance of 20km is about to be smashed up.


  Performance Place Date
2021 1:30:05 Grottaglie (ITA) 07 MAR 2021
2016 1:34:01 Poděbrady (CZE) 09 APR 2016
2015 1:34:29 Cassino (ITA) 29 MAR 2015
2014 1:40:29 Lugano (SUI) 16 MAR 2014


Her personal best of 1:34:01 from Podrebrady 2016 is going to be beaten, but Aeolus in the form of the south-west wind says it's not the time: getting the personal best at home would sound bad, by affront to the gods of the day.
Three laps from the end two people who know a lot of race walk look into each other's eyes and seeing her recovering on the two preceding her say: "Becchetti wins".
So it is, but Aeolus blows and blows on the straight opposite the finish line and Podebrady's best resists (Mavi finishes in 1:34:09).
Someone whispers that the two seasons spent chasing the 50km have done her well even in the shorter distance. She have rediscovered that certainty which is the consequence of a much improved technical pace al style that today not even the most fundamentalist and severe Judge feels like sanctioning.
Yesterday, after paying her debts with Aeolus, she too receives back those almost 4 minutes too long from Ostia. There are still 5 seconds too many: those that separate her from "good" to "excellent", but it will be for the next battle with rival Valentina Trapletti.
Today between Mariavittoria and Valentina ends 1 to 1. Ball in the center. The rematch in Podebrady (CZE).