Wed, Aug 30, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Taipei Universiade: Italian sprinter Irene Siragusa eyes Berlin challenge after winning medals

By Doruk Sargin  /  Staff reporter

Italian sprinter Irene Siragusa, who last week won two individual medals at the Taipei Summer Universiade, on Monday said that she will be preparing for next year’s European Athletics Championships after a well-deserved rest.

Siragusa on Thursday last week won silver in the women’s 100m with 11.31 seconds, followed by a gold medal in the women’s 200m on Saturday, setting a new personal best of 22.96 seconds.

Running nine rounds at the Universiade was difficult and she needs to recuperate before getting ready for next month’s races, Siragusa told the Taipei Times in an e-mail, adding: “Then finally a little bit of holiday.”

The sprinter is to then start preparing for next year’s championships in Berlin, she said.

Siragusa said she started her athletics career at age 13, when she was already a keen roller skater, after her mother suggested that she take up running.

However, she was not alone, as many of her friends were also doing it, she added.

Initially, she liked the sport only because she “won everything,” Siragusa said, but added that “now it is a part of my life, my hobby and my work.”

Juggling academic studies and a demanding career in athletics might sound like a daunting task for many, but Siragusa said it has not been difficult for her.

“I try to do everything at the right time and fortunately I compete on the weekends, [when] there are no classes,” although exams can cause problems, Siragusa said.

The atmosphere at the Taipei Municipal Stadium is “amazing,” with all the spectators cheering, which shows that they are interested in the races, Siragusa said, adding that the Universiade feels like the Olympics.

Taiwanese are “very kind and generous,” Siragusa said, adding that she has not encountered any problems other than trying to figure out how everything works in the first few days.

Pension reform protesters delaying the parade of nations during the Universiade opening ceremony on Saturday last week did upset her a little, as it was her first time participating in such a parade, she said.

However, the athletes jumped with joy after learning that they would be let in, she said, adding that once under way, the ceremony was “really spectacular.”

She has not had the time to see much of Taipei, as she has only traveled between the Athletes’ Village and the stadium, and she wants to see more before returning home, Siragusa said, adding that Taiwan is a “friendly and rich country.”

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