Back from Porto: Interview with Paolo Porta
25 Sep 2012 at 08:56 | Published by: Hans | Views: 8816 | News search
Paolop Porta celebrating an ace in Porto (Photo by Hans Bergström 2012)
Interview with Paolo Porta (PP), Italy and Novi Ligure
This interview was done the 25th of September 2012. Interviewer is Hans Bergström (HB).
HB: First of all a big congratulation to title in Porto. Have these successes sunk in yet and you are back in normal life?
PP: Thank you Hans. During the first days it was hard for me to understand what I had done in Porto. But all the congratulations I’ve received from friends, players, celebrations from my club, federation, my town administration and many articles on local newspapers helped me to realize that I’ve made something special.
The comeback to normal life was already on Monday at work, but surely normal life feels better when you think that you have reached a target that was your dream since you were a child.
HB: Let’s start with the team competition. Two fifth places in the teams. Are you satisfied with this or unhappy?
PP: We are satisfied because after many years we could manage to fight for the podium until the end of the tournament. We got many 4th/5th places in the past but with big gap from the best teams. This time the gap has been very close from the second place. There’s a small disappointment having placed 3rd for the entire tournament long, but this is a new young team that can do very, very well in the future and this has been a real good beginning.
HB: And for yourself you barely made it into the last 32 by a sudden death play-off. Was the stroke-play a disappointment for you?
PP: Of course I expected a better placement, even if I hadn’t found a great feeling with the courses also during training. The concrete average was quite OK but on miniaturegolf I lose every round a couple of stroke in “easy” lanes. Fortunately, those easy lanes were not included in the match play final
Stroke play days has also been difficult for me because I could not 100% concentrate only on my game: being the most experienced of the team I had to support the younger players, check if all balls are good and other things that you have to do when you play for a team and you are the player with more experience. But at least I’ve got the pass for the final day and that is a satisfaction because I always managed to do that in all European/World Championships I’ve played.
HB: Then on Saturday you won the gold in Match Play winning your matches with a huge quota of 27-8 lanes. Please tell our readers about that day?
PP: In simple words, it has been the perfect day. I started with good minds because I knew that the lanes included in the match play were those I played better also in the previous days.
Then, I always start this game believing that I can beat all, because the level in the elite category is so high that all 32 players have the chance to win. It has been very important for me to take immediately the lead in all matches winning the first holes. This kind of match is much simpler if you play as first.
Match by match I found a great confidence and I managed to play semifinal and final without thinking that I was doing something historical for Italian minigolf (the last title won by an Italian male player in the elite category has to be found back in 1968 and the last podium in 1988). I just played thinking to score ace on each lane that is the best way to play the match play.
Of course, I didn’t expect to win the final with so a big margin, but that was probably “my” day.
HB: You use to be quite against the match play as modus in the Championships but it’s in this modus you having had your best results. Are you more pro to the modus now?
PP: I was against the match play modus as only title of a championship, because I think that players that score the best results along three days competition must have their prize. For example in Porto, it would have been really unsportly if Achim would have not taken home a gold medal, having dominated a three days competition on 12 rounds.
But also when match play was the only title I always said: “I don’t like it, but if this is the rule, I try to play it as good as possible”. A good thing of this modus is that it opens the way to medal also to smaller countries, as you can see from my victory in Porto or Eetu Ikola’s one in Bad Münder.
HB: Have your success been noticed back home in Italy?
PP: As said before, I had a lot of celebrations, many articles on local newspapers and TV report on a local channel. My town sport administration will give me a prize and also the zone section of the Italian Olympic committee will do that. I really hope that my title will be useful to give more visibility to our sport here in Italy, we need that to increase the number of players and clubs.
HB: And finally you are now the third person in the Minigolfnews staff to become European Champion. Erik Tiekstra and Martin Lundell have also done it. Do you have any advice for me and John who are still not within this club how to make it?
PP: Maybe thinking to explore new worlds and try to play Asian Championship?
HB: Last week you also won your home competition the Infinite Cup. Can you tell us about this tournament and how you managed to win it?
PP: It is never easy for me to play the home tournament because I’m also very busy with the organization being president of my club. I always play with almost no practice and this year I had more distractions for the celebration of European title.
But when I play I usually manage to think only about the game and I got this victory, even if this time my “little” friend Emanuele Prestinari made me a really hard challenge and I could beat him only after playoff.
HB: What happens next for you in Minigolf?
PP: This weekend I played a tournament in Follonica getting a 3rd place, now I take a little break and will think about the winter indoor season. I won’t play so much this winter but will try to play some nice tournaments or marathon.
HB: Will we see you in the next year’s Championship in Bad Munder?
PP: Of course it’s my goal to be there next year. I like Bad Munder very much, it has been my first tournament on felt ten years ago at the World Championships and I had a very good result.
I like felt very much and I hope next year to be again between the top players in matchplay hoping also for a better result in stroke play. We don’t have big expectations for medals with team playing on felt but we’ll see….
HB: Thank you for taking this interview and good luck in the future!
PP: Thank you Hans!