##TRE TORRI: PRESS REVIEWS Ezio Gamba’s Russia at the Tre Torri and then Italian appointments Udine, 9th June 2009. From Russia with love, is not the second film in the James Bond 007 series rather, it is the first away match of Ezio Gamba with the Russian squad, which he has been National Technical Director of for the past 6 months. His is a job, full of prestige and responsibility, with the aim of resolving the fate of the wounded giant which is out of the Beijing judo Olympics not just with ‘zero honours’, but also with ‘zero medals’. Three fifths and a seventh place, Russia 26th in the medal list, more or less a total trouncing. Gamba has taken up the challenge, started to work and in April at the European championships in Tblisi, Russia overtook everybody in the list of medals: first with 5 “honours”, one silver and two bronze. The men’s team ability entrusted to Ezio, three gold medals two bronze, a fifth and a seventh place. Just luck? Decide for yourself. Here is Ezio Gamba having just come back to Italy to take part with the first team in the Tre Torri competition in Porto Sant’Elpidio on 13th and 14th June: «At the beginning, I had to take stock of all the work to do, I formed the squad, which includes five technicians, 3 of whom are making their debut performance, but all of top athlete’s calibre: Vitaly Makarov, Dmitry Morozov, Asambi Taov and another two technicians of slightly lower profile, though with good mid-high level of coaching experience, Sergey Kosminin and Constantin Filosofenko». «I had to learn how to get to know the athletes, studying the results of the previous four years, with hard-to-learn names like Haskab, Badras, Beslan, Asamby, Mansur, Asamat and so on. Now the framework of our strengths available is very clear to me. I have 50 athletes at my disposal, 7 for every category, to whom I intend adding new people at every important national event. National Championships, Under-23s, Juniors. With a grouping of this quality, it should be expected that my and the federation’s ambitions are great, to be translated into medals at the next Olympics. I started with specialised programmes keeping the pressure on, with a minimum of three international competitions and as many judo camps. Every one of these lads knows that he won’t know at least until the end of 2010 and that, right now, the result is not the important thing here, but it is the building of a group that is in continual physical and technical growth that is. No tactical calculations and a great propensity to attack are those positive aspects at the basis of their past success, to which now I wish to add those characteristics which, in my opinion, make a top-quality judoka. Since January, we participated in the Georgia World Cup, the Paris Grand Slam, the Hungary World Cup, the German Grand Prix, the Polish World Cup, the Tblisi European championships, the Moscow Grand Slam and, this month, we will be in Russia with 4 teams in preparation for the Istanbul Continental Cup where we will be taking part with two athletes per category as well as the University Games in July, where I will send 8 athletes for the individual and team contests. Meanwhile, a full team will go to Brazil for a team friendly and stay then until the Rio Grand Slam, while two teams made up of athletes I’m betting on for the World Championships are those who will arrive on Thursday 11th June in Italy to compete at the Tre Torri, one of the highest-level tournaments in the world owing to the quality of those taking part, as well as at the judo camp which will follow. Then we will go on a small tour of Italy; Brescia, Modena, Udine, Varese, finding the time to distract ourselves on visits to Venice, the Caneva Water World and Lazise». «Naturally, I wish the Italian judoka to understand that this is a rare appointment, crossing grips with athletes of this level definitely is not something that they do every day of the week. The potential of Russia, I believe, is today greater even than Korea or Japan. But, let’s get back to our tour, on 25th, the squad leaves for Rio where it will take part in the Grand Slam, while I will go to Istanbul to see the Continental Cup. All back home on 7th July, break till 12th to then re-leave with Spain and Germany, the last competition testing after which I will decide the team for the Rotterdam world championships (26th – 30th August). The programmes of Ezio Gamba do not stop here, though let’s nevertheless jump ahead to the concluding thoughts. «I cannot state not living a life of annoyances and worries while in this experience, but I have to say that I can count on the complete trust and availability of the Russian federation, which gives me great support on all fronts, even if I am also called upon to lend great commitment in the organisational area, in that the secretary’s office has been completely renewed. It displays a great willingness to grow, but it is still lacking in experience».