Annalisa Calagreti is a member of the Italian National Junior Judo squad, was Italian junior champion in both 2012 and 2013, was third last year but won gold again this year climbing to the top podium at the European Cup in Portugal. She is rich in medals and national and international tournaments. Annalisa Calagreti , 16, a student at the Institute Cavallotti who lives with her mother in Città di Castello and trains in the Tiber valley Centro Judo Ginnastica gym with her coach Augusto Mariotti and his staff.
ph: Federico Giulietti – editor: mokacomunicazione
Annalisa’s story is a good one for many reasons. She is one of those people who make you realize, that if you have – and above all pursue a dream, you can grasp it with both hands and be happy. At the same time she’s a girl who, despite her sporting successes and her physical strength, when talking reveals a shyness that makes her very sweet; indeed so sweet that I eventually asked:
Was it really you who floored that German athlete in 8 seconds a few days ago in Bulgaria at the Europeans?
«Of course!» she says with a smile.
When did you start judo?
«In 2008 – I had an aunt who did it. Before that I used to swim but then switched to judo to try something new.»
So you couldn’t possibly imagine the success you’ve had?
«Absolutely not. In fact, when I started I didn’t want to do much, I wasn’t motivated. Now though I’ve been training seriously for two years and I want to try and be somebody in this sport. Beforehand I was training but not with any desire to win; now it’s different.»
When was your first win?
«Nationally the Italian championship in 2012 in Ostia.»
What’s a typical day for you?
«I get up at 6.30 and at 7.10 I get the minibus, go to school till 13.30 and come home at 2 p.m. I train every day from Monday to Friday in the afternoon for an hour and a half. Then I go to my aunt’s house, do my homework and wait for my mother to get back.»
What do you like most about this sport?
«I like it because it’s a sport that, so far, has given me many rewards, so many that sometimes the difficulties are secondary. The sacrifices I make are rewarded by the satisfaction I get.»
Your sporting idol?
«Pino Maddaloni. I met him at the Italian championships and he gave me some tips. First and foremost – never give up.»
What’s more important in judo – talent or application?
«Both. The secret of judo is to train hard and believe in yourself.»
What has judo taught you besides the actual sport?
«Respect. Towards the tatami, for my opponents and for myself.»
How was your recent experience in the nationals?
«I was called up for the match in the Czech Republic, we waited at the airport and left together: there are 20 athletes in the team (Juniors up to 17 years). I felt good.»
Trivial question, but when you fight do you injure yourselves?
«It can happen, after all it is a combat sport; but we know how to fall and how to behave.»
Who supports you in all this?
«My mum when I compete in Italy. But there are lots of people who I’d like to thank who have followed me, especially my coach Augusto Mariotti, Alessandra, Angelica and all the staff because, with my character,they need patience! To all of them my thanks -because they’ve been close when others should have been.»
You go to the Hospitality and catering school – where would you prefer, restaurant or gym?
«Gym! My biggest dream is to win the Olympics in 2020. I would like to win.»