K.O. for Japan, Italy in semi-finals. Gottardo: “Cocchiere and I, what a pair we are…To think that we were rivals”

Martina Gottardo was the main protagonist of the Italian victory in the women’s water polo quarter-finals against Japan, in Casoria: the score was 12-8 for the Italian team, dragged by the Paduan player and by the other centre forward, Agnese Cocchiere (3 goals each). “We may be the strongest centre forward pair, here in Naples – Gottardo says – we get on well together, there is a great feeling between us. To think that, for a long time, in the junior national team, we have been rivals: they were used to select either me or her, never both of us. When we met, during the retreat, we both looked at each other and said: “Finally!”.
Together with the other members of the team, they reached the semi-finals. “Our objective? I am quite superstitious, so I will not declare it. I can just say that an athlete must always aim for the top”. Now only Canada stands between Italy and the finals. On Friday, the Italian team will have their debut at Scandone Swimming Pool. “I have been there just for a few training sessions with the junior national team – Gottardo concludes – I can’t wait to compete in such an important match: I saw the pictures and for this Universiade it seems to be a wonderful swimming pool”.

“We hope to find spectators as warm as in Casoria”, adds Serena Storai, 20-year-old striker at her first high-level international tournament. “I am living this experience intensely. I felt strong emotions, especially thanks to such a warm audience. I also understood that I must not get caught up in my feelings, because playing with less worries I could do even better. Already starting from next match”.

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