Simona Quadarella To Race In Honour Of Fallen Fellow Firefighters At Nico Sapio

Simona Quadarella - and the emblem of the Fiamme Rosse firefighters sports team - main photo - courtesy: Becca Wyant simonaquadarellabeccawyantfiammerosse
Simona Quadarella - and the emblem of the Fiamme Rosse firefighters sports team - main photo - courtesy: Becca Wyant

Simona Quadarella, the World 1500m freestyle champion and a member of the “Fiamme Rosse” (Red Flames, firefighters sports team), is dedicating her efforts at the three-day Nico Sapio meet that gets underway in Genova today to colleagues who lost their lives in an explosion last Monday in Quargnento, a town in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont.

Quadarella, of Rome, told Italian media: “These are the days of mourning; my mind is on making a gesture of solidarity.”

An explosion at a farm building in Quargnento, killed three firemen on Monday night this week. Enrico Cieri, an Alessandria prosecutor, stated yesterday that the blast that killed firefighters Antonio Candido, Marco Triches and Matteo Gastaldo was no accident:

“Whoever did it did it to kill. It’s clear that the incident was not due to a neighbours’ row, but it much more serious”.

Police officer Roberto Borlengo, and two other firefighters, Giuliano Dodero and Graziano Luca Trombetta, were wounded, hospitalised and are today are said to be in a stable condition.

Quadarella, who after winning the 1500m at World Championships in Gwangju, gave American super-ace Katie Ledecky a tough race over 800m when the defending champion returned to the fray after illness ruled her out of the 30-lap race and the 200m freestyle final.

Quadarella, Italy’s most famous firefighting sports star, arrives in Genova today Genoa with a heavy heart, telling the Ansa agency:

“Every fireman knows when he or she goes out to do the job often seen as a mission they’ve pursued since childhood, that there is serious risk. But this tragedy is particularly terrible and painful because it is premeditated by [someone], which makes it something much worse.

“For us [firefighters], these are the days of mourning, to the families of the dead heroes I can only say that we will be close to them. I chose to enter the Fire Department because their work has always fascinated me…. I seized the chance [to join] when it came up … now I have many friends among the athletes of the Red Flames. My mind is on making a gesture of solidarity [to the fallen as she races at the meet.”

A criminal investigation has been opened into the incident. Investigators are looking into possible motives, including a family fight or potential fraud aimed at eliciting insurance money by foul means.

Primers and wires connected to gas canisters that survived the blast were found in the building destroyed by the explosion, investigators told Italian media.

Nico Sapio: Selectors Poised To Select Euro S/C Squad


Martina Carraro – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Others set to race at the Nico Sapio include Martina Carraro, who rejoins battle with teenager Benedetta Pilato, Worlds silver medallist in the 50m breaststroke in Gwangju back in July.

The meet will serve as an Italian selection meet for the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow next month.

Fabio Scozzoli, Alessandro Miressi, Thomas Ceccon, Domenico Acerenza and Ilaria Bianchi are among others likely to ensure some speedy swimming.

Italian Coach of the Year Award


Federica Pellegrini – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Matteo Giunta, coach to Federica Pellegrini, Christian Minotti, coach to Quadarella, and Stefano Morini, coach to Gregorio Paltrinieri and Gabriele Detti, have made the shortlist for sixth Italian “Swimming Coach of the Year” award that is named after former national head coach and Pellegrini mentor Alberto Castagnetti, who passed away in 2009.

In claiming the World 200m freestyle crown in Gwangju back in July, Pellegrini collected a unique and stunning eighth podium prize – four of them golden – in that event since she claimed silver at Montreal 2005.