Casella: ‘We Must Help Our Country To Rise From The Ruins’

Written by John Crumlish for International Gymnast Online

Sunday, April 12, 2020

As Italy reels from the ravages of COVID-19, Italian women’s national gymnastics team head coach Enrico Casella told International Gymnast that he and his gymnasts are cautiously quarantining amidst the “truly dramatic” circumstances caused by the pandemic in their country.

“In these months of suffering it is difficult to think about the future because our feelings are constantly addressed to people who suffer,” said Casella, who also serves as technical director of women’s gymnastics in Italy. “Here in Italy and especially here in Brescia, where the Italian women’s national team has its headquarters, the situation is truly dramatic. We are closed inside the International Academy trying to leave everything else out.”

COVID-19 has resulted in over 150,000 cases and over 19,000 deaths in Italy. Over one-third of the cases and more than half of the deaths have occurred in Lombardy, the northern Italian region in which Brescia is located. Italian gymnast Giorgia Villa, who placed 16th all-around at the 2019 World Championships, lost both of her grandfathers to the virus.

Like athletes around the world, the Italians will need to reset their training regimens for the Tokyo Olympics that have been postponed from this summer to next summer due to the pandemic. Italy placed third in the team final at last year’s Worlds.

Casella’s priority now, however, is a task far more altruistic than simply getting his athletes back on track for future competitions.

“I don’t know what the future of Italian women’s artistic gymnastics will be, but I know that it is our duty to resist and try to get up again,” he told International Gymnast. “We must by our example help our country to rise from the ruins of this terrible ordeal. I hope that other countries do not experience what has happened to us. I just want to say ‘Good luck’ to everyone.”

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