He started a special season in the best possible way, setting a new Italian 3000m indoor record after 27 years.

After finishing seventh at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Italian middle-distance runner Pietro Arese is counting down the days to the start of the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships, which will be held at the Olympic Stadium and Foro Italico Park from 7 to 12 June (tickets on sale here).

The 2022 European Athletics Cross Championships in Venaria are a magical memory for me, coming from Turin, because winning a continental title just a few kilometres from home was really incredible. So I think it will be doubly magical to take part in the European Athletics Championships in Rome, the Eternal City,” said the 1999 Italian champion.

A few days before his memorable performance in the 3000m in Metz (France), Arese had set the 1500m indoor national record in Padova (Italy), later beaten by Federico Riva and Ossama Meslek.

“Starting the season with all these records,” said the Italian athlete, “was amazing, not only for me, but for all the other guys in the Italian national team. It’s very inspiring, personally breaking Gennaro Di Napoli‘s historic record gave me a unique feeling. Now, with the European Athletics Championships coming up in Rome, I said to myself: “Why not try to break the 1500m outdoor record? That would be amazing.” 

Arese is a surname that means a lot to Italian athletics. Franco Arese, former president of FIDAL and now chairman of Karhu, the official supplier of technical equipment to Roma 2024, won the European 1500m title in Helsinki in 1971 as an athlete. “This is another sign of destiny. With Franco Arese we know each other and talk often, even though we are not related. It would be magical to emulate him and win gold in the Olympic Stadium,” admits Pietro.

This optimism also stems from the magical moment experienced by the Italian athletics team. “The atmosphere in the Italian team is light and very stimulating. I think this is the reason for the many positive results. The cohesion among the athletes and the fact that everyone appreciates the victories of the others is a fundamental help that allowed us, for example, to win the Silesia 2023 European Athletics Team Championships. I hope that the same spirit will help us to win more in June,” concludes Arese, who, two years after finishing fourth in the 1500m final at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships, is now aiming for a medal.

Credit photo: Grana\FIDAL