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Antonino Pizzolato Interview: After the 2023 WWC in Riyadh

Antonino Pizzolato, known as “Nino,” the 27-year-old powerhouse and Italian weightlifting legend who embodies ultimate determination and high hopes for Italy. During every performance, Nino fuels up his lifts to conquer the 89-weight division, defeating his long-time rival Bulgarian Karlos Nasar.

We had a chance to interview Nino after the tough session at the 2023 World Championships in Riyadh, asking him questions about his training inside the Italian team, the state of weightlifting in the country, and his plans for the Olympic Games.

– In your opinion, what is the secret of success for the Italian weightlifting team?

“With the passing years Italian weightlifting has had a big room for improvement. We don’t have any kind of secret.


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“Every day we seek automatism and perfection in what we do, both in training and in what is the fundamental aspect, the mind. We don’t have secrets, just the desire to win, which is the engine of everything.”

Our only quality is perseverance, hard work, with lots of sacrifice, and most of all we have lots of will to keep going and try to be better in what we do.”

Antonino Pizzolato Interview

– Tell us about training facilities and conditions that boost weightlifting development in Italy. How does it impact athletes and especially your preparation?

“Since our technical director, Sebastiano Corbu, has joined our team, putting the athlete on the priority list, we have seen many improvements. What does it mean? Every kind of thing, in any sphere, so we talk about training, nutrition, physiotherapy, leads to improvement in the best possible way because I believe that if everyone in his field is the best he can provide the best possible service to the athlete.

He also prepared the structure so that we had everything. We have a physiotherapist inside of it, we have our recovery tub, where there is cold and warm water, and we have our steam room.  

“All of this has a huge impact, having a structure that guarantees everything because in this way an athlete trains with peace of mind, with serenity, and above all knows that every person who works there works 100% for the athletes and wants us to get the best from every performance.”

We have a gym that allows us to have the right equipment that affords us healthy and long-lasting training sessions.”

– What role does the Italian government play in financial and organization and support for Italian weightlifters?

In Italy, our sport is not considered a sport of national fame. As everyone knows, in Italy the national sport is soccer. We had difficulties emerging but with the three Olympic medals from Tokyo, one silver and two bronze, the CONI association started to believe in the movement of weightlifting and invested a lot of money to make sure that we had that structure of Olympic preparation and did other improvements from this financial side.

We are very happy about that and, since we always speak about the general well-being of the athletes, we have to thank the secretary and our president. Every person working out there does their best to assure us the best of everything. We don’t have great support, but we still have very well-trained people who allow us to have what we have.”

– In today’s Italian society is it cooler to be a weightlifter or more luxurious to have a Ferrari?

“For sure the one who has a Ferrari, because nowadays with Instagram, Tik Tok, etc, a person that shows money has much more appeal. Also, those who show sweat have appeal, but I have to say that in Italy the one who shows himself differently and more commercially has more favor instead of a weightlifter.

I can say that with the passing of the years, in the field of fitness and team Italy itself, we have great recognition from the audience.

From my side, with the Olympic medal and my results through the years, I see great recognition. It happens that when I walk out in the street someone recognizes me and knows what I have accomplished. For sure this is a fantastic thing for me.”

Nino’s Regular Training, Relations Inside the Team, and Current Goals

– Can you describe your technique and what sets it apart from others in your field?

“For sure my technique is an old-style one. I started with a coach who was for sure old fashioned but also in a continuous evolution. One thing that sets me apart from others is the fact that I lift by instinct and grow up from my heart. So this is what sets me apart from others.”

– Is there any form of seniority or hazing within the team as one of the most experienced athletes do you have privileges?

“Under this aspect, we don’t have this kind of preference. For sure I am the oldest one and for sure I am the first one to notice that, but the other guys know and respect me for that too. But we don’t rely much on seniority. There is mutual respect from the smallest to the oldest because we are a team and when one wins we all win.”

– Do you have a best friend inside the team?

“My Brother.”

 – What are your current ambitions and goals?

“WORK. Work hard and sacrifice myself as much as possible on what my training is. Because I believe that only with lots of fatigue, lots of work and lots of dedication you can achieve results.

“I have my goal clear in my mind, but I don’t want to say it because I would be making a compromise and I have no compromises. I just want to train hard and demonstrate on that platform that I can still have my say today.”

I am sure that when one puts his heart and soul into something, the result will come.”

– How do you manage emotional stuff, especially when you have been training hard but haven’t been performing as well?

“This past year has been hard. This is a hard question to answer. If you asked me this question a few times ago, I would say “Ask me another one, please”. But today I can tell you that there is awareness. A bigger awareness.

This has been a tough and dark year, where it was not easy to walk into the gym and feel constant back pain. When it seemed like I was there to make out of it the pain came back again.

As it was for the European Championship. I did a lot of preparation, and I was ready to do it with my kilograms. I don’t know if I could beat Carlos, but I was able to contrast it. Or try to have my say anyway.

But unfortunately, 5 days before the competition the back pain came again, and this morally brought me down. But by my side, I have people that believe in me and most of all I have such a beautiful thing: I truly believe in myself.”

“As the Chinese saying goes: it is not important how big the drop is but how much you persist every day in trying to reach your goal.”

“For sure I am a very hard-headed person and my mind helps me a lot when things come to respond. When I think that the training was not as good as planned, I put my head down and start over and over again to make sure that the training goes well.”

– Do the presence of attractive members ( I am talking of girls) distract you during training sessions and how do you remain focused?

“Well… for sure it’s a big privilege having such beautiful girls in our gym. But this does not distract me because for me work is one thing and fun is another. It’s a privilege because in that way we can affirm that girls who lift are beautiful. 

This is a compliment for the question you asked me and I thank you for that. But this does not distract me, I see everyone as a colleague.”

– What went wrong with your snatch in the Riyadh World Championship? What did you learn from that experience?

“I knew that I was not 100% ready for that world championship, but I tried anyway because I was in the condition to make the lifts that I put as the first one. The other lifts were a question mark because I never did those lifts in training. I tried but it went badly.

For sure at that moment I would prefer a delight at the world championship even without doing my best in competition but in case a good result. But this thing has not put me down and for sure I have strengthened my way of thinking: you must have a hard head and perseverance every day to move forward. Only in this way can you achieve what you dream of.”


Today we uncovered the story of another Italian champion, Nino Pizzolato, exploring his training facilities, and relationship with his compatriots and coach. We revealed that this three-time European champion stays a leader and driving force for the Italian team, being a great warrior who is defending his country.

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Tanya Shaiko

Author: Tanya Shaiko
News Editor, Olympic Lifting Enthusiast

Oly Lifting Experience: 6 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 61 kg,
C&J – 78 kg

I’m Tanya, and I just can’t do without fitness. About six years ago, I got into Olympic weightlifting and instantly fell in love with it. Weightlifting is like no other sport – it’s just you versus the bar. Driven by my unwavering passion for an active lifestyle, I’ve been eager to share my personal journey and sports enthusiasm with others. As a journalist and photographer, my interests come full circle, adding an extra dimension to the news column that I curate. This way, I keep my readers updated with the latest happenings in the sports world.

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