2015-Kazan world championships: snapshot

In Kazan, the Italian men’s team came fourth. The team’s composition has significantly changed compared to the previous world championships. After Barcelona-2013, where the Italians finished with the same result, coach Alessandro Campagna finally decided to venture upon much needed generational change and brought into his squad several young talented players most of whom, if not all, had won world championships titles at youth and\or junior levels. However, few veterans remain to make the transition smooth. Their knowledge, experience and skills are still very much in demand at crucial instances.  Among those stalwarts is Pietro Figlioli who has participated in top international events for many years and is one of the leading players of the Italian squad now.

Pietro Figlioli takes a shot in the match for the Bronze medals between Greece (white) and Italy (blue).

Pietro Figlioli takes a shot in the match for the Bronze medals between Greece (white) and Italy (blue).

As a member of the Australian ‘Sharks’ squad, Figlioli took part in his first world championships in Barcelona-2003. Pietro was 18 years old only when I brought him into the Australian senior side. Even though he could not really play high-level water polo and needed several years to develop, as did many other Australian players, I made that decision because the boy possessed several important ingredients which raised hopes he would develop into a top international class player; namely, good energy systems, speed and speed endurance, natural shooting ability and stable personality. To make a joke, I can say that whilst coaching young Pietro a few ulcers opened in my stomack but, I guess, it had to be part of the proсess.

After the 2004 Olympic games in Athens where Pietro was still learning high level water polo intricacies, he received an invitation to play for an Italian club and – subsequently – a proposal to become an Italian citizen with membership of the country’s national squad. As it turned out, from the standpoint of Pietro’s sporting career, those steps were justified: he became world champion (2011) and Olympic games (2012) silver medalist. I was pleased to see Pietro again in Kazan and enjoyed watching his skillful actions in the pool at yet another world championship. I wish him well and many more years of successful water polo career!

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

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