Italy Makes History

The Five Card Tricksters, Italy.
From the left to the right:
Norberto Bocchi, Antonio Sementa, Massimo Ortensi (coach), Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace, Francesco Angelini, Giorgio Duboin, Maria Tereza Lavazza (npc)
The Netherlands, winner of the gold medal in the Women's European Championships. From left to right:
Ed Franken (npc), Bep Vriend, Anneke Simons, Marijke van der Pas, Wietske van Zwol, Femke Hoogweg, Jet Pasman and Chris Niemeijer (coach).

They won in Vilamoura in 1995, in Montecatini in 1997, in Malta in 1999, in Tenerife in 2001 and now by winning here in Salsomaggiore in 2002 with a truly awesome display, Italy has become the first team in the history of these great Championships to win five times in a row, surpassing the record of the legendary Blue Team, who won in 1956, 57, 58 and 59.

We raise our glasses to Francesco Angelini, Norberto Bocchi, Giorgio Duboin, Lorenzo Lauria, Antonio Sementa & Alfredo Versace, together with their Captain, Maria Teresa Lavazza and Coach, Massimo Ortensi.

The ease of their victory makes them clear favourites to go on to a sixth victory in Malmö in two years time, but meanwhile they will spearhead the European challenge for the greatest prize of all in next years Bermuda Bowl.

The silver medallists, Spain, will accompany them in their quest for Bridge's Holy Grail, along with Norway, who took bronze, Bulgaria and Sweden.

These five countries, together with Poland, Netherlands and England will receive invitations to compete in the Champions Cup in Warsaw in October.

The 46th European Bridge Teams Championships is being held in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy, 15 to 29 June 2002. It comprises three series - for open, women's and senior national teams.

The tournament marks the 70th Anniversary of the Championships, first held in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, in 1932. On the occasion, EBL President Gianarrigo Rona wrote:

'I am confident that on this extraordinary occasion all NBO Presidents will be present in Salsomaggiore, and that all NBOs will send their National Teams to participate in all three series. Thus we will show to the whole world the great progress achieved by the bridge family and our pride in belonging to it, our friendship, solidarity, similarity of ideas, without barriers, differences, distinctions. We will show our resolute answer to the attempts to destabilize and create divisions which some have madly tried to do. We will show our desire to enjoy all together, according our motto, Bridge for Peace'.

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