Italy has been one of the worst affected countries in the world from the coronavirus pandemic but as of last Monday national standard athletes – those that might have had ambitions of wearing the Azzurri vest at the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships before its cancellation – have been able to leave their homes and train at public facilities, albeit with considerable restrictions.
“At a painful time for the country, the reopening, albeit partial, of the training facilities represents for all of us a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. However, the path is still long and individual responsibility, especially an attention to the good behaviour that each of us is required to show, will be crucial if we are to see a return to life as we knew it before, commented Italian federation president Alfio Giomi on Sunday.
However, just prior to the lockdown coming to a very qualified end, European Athletics Green Inspiration Partner Mondo provided a number of Italian athletes with rolls of track to help them train at home and the Sportflex SX surface they were sent is certainly not going to be packed away and allowed to gather dust.
Among those athletes was 2017 European U23 400m hurdles champion Ayomide Folorunso, who weas ranked fifth in Europe in her specialist event last year, and who was planning to go to Paris to challenge for medals.
Despite her targets now shifting, the 23-year-old medical student from Fidenza is still committed to keeping her focus and metaphorically flying out of the blocks when the gun goes on her first competition, whenever that may be.
Thanks Mondo Sports and Flooring for this precious support! This 5 mt of sportflex SX bliss is just perfect for training and keeping safe at Home #trackandfield #Atletica #AtleticaViva #CoronaVirusUpdate #stayAtHome pic.twitter.com/rP9UwhEyR0— Ayomide Folorunso (@AyomideFoloruns) May 1, 2020
Folorunso documented how she and her father, with her mother in charge of recording progress, installed the track.
Rising Italian sprint star Luca Lai, third on this year’s European indoor 60m list after making a big breakthrough and improving to 6.57, was another Italian athlete to get a special delivery of five five-metre rolls of track from Mondo early last week at his home in Milan.
European Athletics and Mondo will be following the progress of Folorunso and Lai, as well as several other Italian athletes progress during the rest of the year to see how they have responded to having to live and train through these difficult times and finding out what impact getting their very own consignment of Mondo track has had.