Fabio Scozzoli & Martina Carraro Sing Song Of Life As Dope Testing Continues Despite COVID-19 Crunch

Fabio SCOZZOLI ITA Copenhagen 11-12-2017 Royal Arena LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships - Campionati Europei nuoto vasca corta Foto Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia
Fabio Scozzoli: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia

The coronavirus (COVID-19) may be disrupting all life as we know it but one constant throughout this crisis is the ring on the doorbell from the anti-doping testers.

Fabio Scozzoli and Martina Carraro – who share an array of world and European breaststroke medals – were at home in Imola, Bologna, one evening during the Italian lockdown.

Unable to go out, song has become a means of communication and solidarity in Italy and on this particular day the pair were singing a song by Italian singer-songwriter Tiziano Ferro.


Martina Carraro, Fabo Scozzoli and their dog Clara – Photo Courtesy: Martina Carraro Instagram

So absorbed were they that it was only because their pet spaniel Clara started barking that they realised the testers were at the door.

And those testers took every precaution as they continued to do their jobs in the most difficult of circumstances.

In an interview with Lia Capizzi at Sky Italia, Scozzoli said: “Our only concern was to immediately comply with the anti-contagion directives. They, however, were hyper-professional, took off their shoes, wore a mask and gloves, disinfected everything, from the table to the pen to the tablet, Everything we touched was disinfected.”

Neither, Scozzoli continued, were they surprised to see the testers and fully backed them to carry out their duties at a time when some less scrupulous people could take advantage.

“No because I believe that everyone must do their job.

“On the other hand, they are almost always the same inspectors, we have known them for some time, they are two Tuscans from the ITF company on which WADA relies for tests.

“In this case it was a blood check. I appreciate that in such a difficult moment WADA is committed to checking because maybe there is someone who could take advantage of this moment and use the excuse of the coronavirus not to let them in.

“We also gave the inspectors some masks because they had few, even for them it is still a great risk to keep on going to people’s homes “.

Carraro won bronze in the women’s 100m breaststroke behind Lilly King and Yulia Efimova, herself towing a doping ban.

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

Scozzoli last stood on a global long-course podium in 2011 when he took double silver in the 50m and 100m breaststroke at worlds in Shanghai.

Unable to go out let alone train, the pair have been doing workouts at home as well as watching TV, going on the internet and eating.

The Italian trials have been cancelled and no alternative date pencilled in with Tokyo 2020 increasingly likely to be postponed and possibly even cancelled.

At 31, it will in all probability be Scozzoli’s final Olympics and his last chance to stand on the podium and exorcise the demons of 2012.

The triple European champion arrived in London hopeful of making the podium and qualified second for the final at the Aquatics Centre in 59.44

A repeat of that time would have guided him to bronze behind Cameron van der Burgh, who set a world record of 58.46, and Christian Sprenger.

However, it was not to be as a time of 59.97 saw Scozzoli finish seventh.


The control session at the home of Fabio Scozzoli and Martina Carraro – Photo Courtesy: Scozzoli, Carraro and Sky Italia

The Games are the pinnacle for every athlete and any postponement a blow but Scozzoli sees the bigger picture.

“Obviously the Olympics are the dream of a lifetime for every athlete, we have been working for 4 years to go there.

“We would be very sorry if they were canceled but now we are talking about a grain of sand in the face of a much more important emergency.

“I think it would be a responsible choice move them forward a few months, it would not be the end of the world.

“It is true that Martina is in the peak of her career, but for her it would not change anything to excel even in a year.

“Now there are more important things to safeguard, overall health and protection of people globally. With everything we are experiencing, the Olympics are the top priority.

“If you miss a week of training in the water, it is certainly not a tragedy. If in a month and a half the situation has improved then we’ll talk about it.”


Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

He added: “If the Olympics were to be confirmed there would still be time to train.

“There is the question mark about the qualifications that have been canceled, of course.

“The IOC and the federations will find a solution, perhaps deciding that the results of the previous 18 months may be worth something.

In fact, both Martina and I are not qualified because the Riccione nationals are cancelled. If the situation becomes calmer, however, there will be many chances to compete.

“First we think of getting out of this situation, of staying at home and being well.

“I am happy with one thing, with the great gratitude that I have towards doctors and nurses, often they are not held in high regard, but now everyone has understood the important and fundamental work they do.”

A Memory Of Martina Carraro Taking The KickBoard Challenge On International Swimming League Tour:


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