Italy won its first two golds at the Tokyo Paralympics Wednesday, both in the pool. Carlotta Gilli won the S13 100m butterfly and Francesco Bocciardo won the S5 200m freestyle.
On the first day of competition, Italy has so far won five medals: two golds, a silver and two bronzes.
Turin-born Gilli, 20, is a partially sighted swimmer. She currently holds twelve world records in her class. In the last two world championships (2017 and 2019) she took home a total of nine golds.
Genoa-born Bocciardo, 27, is a triple World and European champion. He took part in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Paralympics, winning the men’s 400m freestyle S6.
Bocciardo has spastic distal tetraplegia which affects the movement in his legs. He was encouraged to take up swimming as a part of rehabilitative therapy at a young age. He started swimming competitively in 2010 at the Italian national championships.
Bocciardo has won three world titles and three European titles in freestyle swimming. His most successful championships was at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships where he won two golds, two silvers and one bronze.
Silver and bronze medallists
Alessia Berra, 27, took silver in the S12 100m butterfly.
Francesco Bettella won bronze in the men’s S1 100m backstroke as Italy picked up its first medal at the Tokyo Paralympics earlier Wednesday.
Veteran Bettella represented Italy at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, winning two silvers in the latter.
Monica Boggioni won bronze in the S1 200m freestyle to give Italy it’s fifth medal. Boggioni, 23, was recently reclassified as an S5 swimmer and has since achieved good results due to her talent across different strokes.