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For Quentin Antognelli (rowing), Tokyo via Varese

03/04/2021 : The Monegasque rower will attempt to secure his ticket for the Tokyo Olympics (single scull) at the European Olympic qualification regatta (5-7 April).

“I feel in quite good shape. I feel as though I have gained momentum since the French national tests where I got into the finals. That’s rather a good sign.” Quentin Antognelli (26) admits: without being overly optimistic, the Monegasque rower is calm: “Technically, I feel more at ease. That bodes quite well.”



Quentin Antognelli has a major card to play on Varese Lake during the European Olympic Qualification Regatta (photo Stéphan Maggi / COM)

From 5 to 7 April, during the European Olympic Qualification Regatta, the Principality’s representative will have his work cut out with a top-level line-up of 16 competitors. Only 3 will qualify for Tokyo, so the stakes are high. “We all want our ticket. We will be racing with a bit between our teeth. We’ll have to give it our very best shot!” he says lucidly. The “red and white” rower knows many of his opponents against whom he has already raced on the international circuit. “Others have come from other categories to qualify for the scull, an Olympic discipline. I have already raced against most of them, we competed on an equal footing.” This Olympic qualification is a stated objective. With the prestige of the Olympics, qualifying and entering the main gate would be something incredible. »

Training in Oxford, a global institution for the discipline

As a student in his final year of a master’s degree (business management) at Oxford Brooks in England, the sturdy Monegasque (1.89 m, 84 kg) has been through an intense few weeks. “We are on the water at 8 am then we come back at 11 am for strength training. At 3 pm, I have lectures and then a third lighter training session at 6 pm. And I finish the day with a lot of stretching.” Not easy to reconcile high-level sports with studying. “It’s a habit that I’ve managed to develop with the arrangements offered by the university. We do the best we can to get good results in class and on the water.” Being in the UK was a prerequisite.” Oxford is an institution in the rowing world. The mentality is completely different from the one I experienced at the Centre in Lyon. We are a group of around twenty athletes with some of us aiming for the English Olympic team and medals at the Games. It is a true privilege to be with them.” After Varese, Quentin Antognelli will be given a second chance in Lucerne (15-17 May) at the world qualification regatta where two athletes will qualify. “It will be a bit more complicated.” »

Strength and power for 7 minutes over a distance of 2000m

On Lake Varese, alone in his boat, he will have to give it his all over the 2000m (approximately 7’ of racing). “This rowing race is often compared to a 3,000 m steeplechase in athletics in terms of effort and physiological intensity. The difference is that it requires more strength and power. One of the rowers painted this vivid picture: it’s like lifting up a 50 kg bag of cement to shoulder level every two seconds. It wears you down in the long run.” In the end, there is only about one tenth of a second in it.   “Everyone is more or less at the same speed.” »

The postponement of the Games seems to have been somewhat beneficial. “In February 2020, I felt that I wasn’t ready. This year, I have been more efficient in the preparation work.” Before Varese, the final stretch resulted in training sessions at both the Société Nautique (ergometer) and Lake Saint Cassien. While he has the sweet hope of qualifying like the tennis table player Xiaoxin Yang (“This just goes to show that Monegasque can do it, it makes you want to follow her wake.”, Quentin Antognelli is also thinking about the upcoming Henley Royal Regatta (prestigious race) with eight-oared university crews. “I haven’t forgotten Paris 2024 either. In the single sculls, rowers are four or even five years older than me, meaning they have as many years more training to reach maturity.” »

Stéphan Maggi,

Press Officer for the Monegasque Olympic Committee




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