11/02/2024   The three musketeers of Trieste Atletica



It's been at least two decades (perhaps even three) since Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, has seen a sports club excel at a national level with its athletes in the difficult specialty of race walking.

Trieste has always had young people who dedicated themselves to race walking, if only because some prominent names of Italian walkers passed through these parts after the Second World War (Giuseppe “Pino” Kressevich and Abdon Pamich) and because the city had been the cradle of one of those passionate walker who was difficult not to remember: Rodolfo Crasso, “Rudi” for everyone. After the liberation in 1945, Rudi founded a sports club called Gruppo Sportivo San Giacomo in one of the most politically difficult districts in those years.

Probably the Gruppo Sportivo San Giacomo, a company still alive today and very dear to the writer for its youthful past, was the first "forge dedicated" to walking in the Julian capital.


For some years now, Atletica Trieste has believed in the development of this difficult specialty, in which the correctness of the athletic gesture often clashes with the rules and the judgment of the juries.

The controversies in Trieste, a borderland with various cultures of different ideals, have been on the agenda for decades and this had not favored development in the youth sector, without which there is no future in sport in general and in walking in particular.


However, it was precisely from the organisation of a Memorial dedicated to Rodolfo Crasso and organised by the Gruppo Sportivo San Giacomo that the name of the first of the current "three musketeers" of the local race walking appeared in the local youth scene: Emiliano Brigante (23.5.2003). The boy from Monfalcone is very young and is followed by Sergio Tonut, a Monfalcone coach with the culture of a middle-distance runner.

His results were immediately very interesting, so much so that as an U18 he was signed up for the Atletica Trieste club whose director was a certain Roberto Furlanic, who was also a walker in his youth and then converted to long-distance running.

A period of ups and downs begins. It's not easy to get a young boy to agree to dedicate themselves for a season to the sole objective of technical improvement. He will then accept it when as an U20 he alternates good performances with harsh disqualifications even abroad.

The turning point will take place after finishing high school. A series of meetings between Roberto Furlanic and the well-known coach of the Italian national team Patrizio Parcesepe and an agreement is found: the young man moves to Rome and trains with Massimo Stano's coach and other high-level athletes. However, he continues to be followed during his returns to his family by his historic coach Sergio Tonut.


But Atletica Trieste discovered precisely in that period that the "seed of race walking” had taken root at a local level.

Roberto Furlanic, however, brings to the fore another young man born on 10.17.2003: Luigi “Gigi” Reis who discovered walking only on 6.5.2021 when in Monfalcone as an U20 he finished his first 5,000m track walking in 28:10.19.

“Gigi” commits himself in the following two years almost with priestly devotion; if Emiliano Brigante is the "musketeer Athos" (the oldest of the group) Luigi Reis can only be the "musketeer Aramis". Very good technically, the red cards he has received over the last three years can be counted on the fingers of one hand.


The third musketeer (for us D'Artagnan) is Alessio Coppola (25.1.2007) who arrives at Atletica Trieste from another agreement with his native club Sportiamo which mainly deals with the U16 sector and in which the reference coach is another well-known name from race walking in Trieste: Diego Cafagna.

Coppola started very young after trying many athletics specialties. His first 2,000m race walk on the track dates back to 14.9.2019 (just over twelve years old) and since then his has been a Rossini crescendo which has led him this season to stop the clock on the 10km in Modugno (Bari) in 43:44.


Roberto Furlanic can therefore be very happy as he achieved excellent results at the Italian Short Track U23 and U18 Championships for Atletica Trieste with his three musketeers:

In the U23s - Gold: Emiliano Brigante in 19:44.18 and 4th place with Luigi Reis in 21:12.08

In the U18s - Gold: Alessio Coppola in 21:29.57


For our part, only the joy of seeing our city's race walk stand out again at a national level as an expression of a sports club that believed in it: investing in race walking is always a good investment !