Tonight the debut at the Olympics, Italy boasts 5 athletes competing, all with excellent medal chances find out everything there is to know about them
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The Olympic debut of karate, in what is the motherland of the discipline, will be historic. Five qualified blues in 8 categories, all with excellent medal chances: Viviana Bottaro and Mattia Busato in kata, Luigi Busà (-75 kg), Angelo Crescenzo (-67 kg) and Silvia Semeraro (+61 kg) in kumite. Viviana was the first to get the pass in February 2020: always at the top of the category, a podium certainty remains also for Tokyo, despite having recovered from an injury. Spotlights on Luigi who can aspire to gold: his is among the most competitive categories, but the “Gorilla d’Avola” at 33 is already a world legend of the specialty and has what it takes to put the icing on the cake of his brilliant career in Japan. But let’s get to know our eight Azzurri competing in Tokyo2020 better.
Viviana Bottaro, born in Genoa on 2 September 1987, began practicing karate at the age of 6, following the example of her older sister Valeria. It starts at a gym near home and it’s love at first sight. From an early age she dreams of becoming a champion, so at 10 she moves under the guidance of the best teacher in Genoa, Claudio Albertini, with him she grows at a competitive level and begins to win. Self-confident on the mat, very shy outside. His magical place was the tatami, his world the kata. Over the years it will be karate that will make them break down the wall of shyness. She was the first Italian karateka to qualify for Tokyo 2020, European vice-champion 2019 and world bronze 2018, the Genoese is among the strongest in the world of the specialty. Karate is everything for her: she is engaged (they will marry after the Olympics) with the former blue player Nello Maestri. But in her life there was also room for study, Viviana graduated with 100 at the three-year degree in Motor Sciences in Genoa. In Tokyo he will be in the race tonight from 3 Italian (5 August).
Mattia Busato was born on February 2, 1993 in Mirano, in the province of Venice. He began practicing karate in 1999, but soon after he abandoned it to devote himself to other disciplines, including gymnastics, swimming, basketball. At 9, however, he returns to his first love – thanks to the technician Vallotto – becoming a point of reference for the Veneto region and then for the whole movement. Graduated from high school, has a degree in Nursing. He enters the Army Sports Center in 2016. His specialty is Shotokan style kata. In career he wins: 2 world bronzes, 1 gold, 2 silver, 5 European bronzes, 1 silver and 1 bronze at the European Games. Today he lives in Castelfranco Veneto, in the province of Treviso, where he moved to get closer to the gym where he trains every day: the Sport Target. He put his Tokyo pass in his pocket, crowning a great journey. His other passion is nature: climbing mountains, swimming in river rapids, observing how plants grow and change, spending the night in the woods. He loves food very much, especially grilled meat. In Tokyo it will be competing on Saturday 6 August in the Italian night starting at 3.
Luigi Busà, born on 9 October 1987 in Avola, gets on the mat for the first time at the age of 4. His father Sebastiano, his first teacher, one day in the kitchen (Luigi was still a rookie) asked him: “Do you want to become a champion?”. We already know the answer: “Yes, we will become the strongest in the world”. At the age of 18 he joined the senior national team, winning his first world title in 2006 in Tampere. Then he graduated three times in a row European Champion in 2006-2007 and 2008, no athlete had ever succeeded in this feat. Luigi is among the strongest and most successful katatekas in the world, he dominates in the -75 kg and with his friend / enemy Rafael Aghayev (Aze) carries on the most exciting competitive rivalry ever: the two are the strongest in the category and yes have been around for years. In 2012, in front of 20 thousand spectators in the Bercy Stadium, Luigi won the world title in Paris against Aghayev, despite a leg injury: at the end of the match he improvised a dance on the tatami, the Gangnam style (the famous success of the rapper South Korean Psy), an exultation that remains in the history of this discipline. His specialty is kumite (combat). In career he wins: 2 gold, 3 silver, 1 world bronze, 5 gold, 3 silver and 6 European bronze, 1 silver at the European Games. The “Gorilla d’Avola”, as he is nicknamed, is a humble boy, but with the playful spirit of a child. Raised on bread and karate: his sisters are karateka too. An incredible family, very close, when they get together for the holidays or in moments of “break” they all train together in their gym in Avola. The father is an exceptional teacher, one of the best in Italy, he was also the coach of the youth team. In Tokyo it will be competing on Saturday 6 August in the Italian night starting at 3.
Angelo Crescenzo, born in Sarno on August 5, 1993, will fight in Tokyo on his birthday. As a child (5 years old) he followed his brother’s Karate lessons, but then he found himself practicing kick boxing. After 2 years, in 2000 he won his first Italian title, but he feels that that discipline does not completely satisfy him. At 10, he changes gym and returns to karate, from that moment he falls in love with it. A world title and two European silver and a bronze shine on his showcase, consecrating him as one of the protagonists on the international scene. He loves the complexity of karate, for him it is a challenge with himself and with the opponent. After years of sacrifices he is ready to have his say on the Five Circles tatami too, even if he will not fight in his category (-60 kg), but in the Olympic and merged one of -67 kg. His strengths are his tactics and his fighting style, he will use them as best he can to win. In Tokyo he will be in the race tonight from 3 Italian (5 August).
Silvia Semeraro, born on May 2, 1996 in Faggiano, grew up in a family of volleyball players, the natural inclination for combat sport is therefore a prerogative that has always characterized her. She started practicing karate at the age of 6 because of her father, also a karateka, who seeing her very agile, active and competitive, took her to the gym. As a young girl she was nicknamed the ‘human beast’, a reflection of the determination and power shown in the race. In his career he boasts a world title and two Europeans won during his youth career, a senior continental bronze and a gold at the European Games in Minsk. But his obsession was the Games. And now that karate finally debuts at the Olympics, and she’s there, she won’t let the opportunity slip away. In Tokyo it will be competing on Saturday 7 August in the Italian night starting at 3.
August 4, 2021 (change August 4, 2021 | 16:18)
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