By Stephen J Thomas
MELBOURNE, October 15. THE sometimes controversial Italian, Massi Rosolino, Sydney Olympic and World Champion in the 200m individual medley will move to Melbourne later this month to train with Australian team coach Ian Pope.
It had been suggested earlier in the year that the 24-year-old, who is also the European record-holder in the 400m freestyle, might quit Italy and swim for Australia in 2004.
However, according to his Italian coach, Riccardo Siniscalco, his decision to train outside Italy is not a problem.
"You must not attach too much importance to it," an Italian paper reported Siniscalco as saying. "It is not his intention to race for Australia in the future, and he will be back in Italy stronger than ever."
"The training in Australia under Pope's guidance, will be certainly useful especially for the backstroke, his weak point in the 200m medley."
Rosolino has relatives in Melbourne and Pope is also coach of Australian backstroke specialist Matt Welsh. Rosolino may also be looking to get a break from the Italian media, which have accused him of using human growth hormone obtained from the Mafia. So the move makes good sense for Rosolino.