Madeira 2024: Carlotta Gilli leads Itay's fabulous Friday

S13 swimmer takes her fourth gold and joins Monica Boggioni, Francesco Bocciardo and Stefano Raimondi as the Italian winners on the penultimate day of the European Open Championships 26 Apr 2024
A female swimmer competing in the freestyle stroke
Carlotta Gilli added the women's 400m freestyle S13 to her list of triumphs at the Madeira 2024 Euros
ⒸPedro Vasconcelos/Madeira LOC
By AMP Media | For World Para Swimming

Italy had a successful sixth day of the Madeira 2024 Para Swimming European Open Championships on Friday (26 April) and top the medal table with one day left of fierce battles for the podium in the pool on the Portuguese island. 

Adding four gold medals to their tally on Friday, the Para swimming powerhouse have so far won 53 medals at Madeira 2024, including 22 first places, and are the team to beat in the rankings before No.2 Ukraine, with 18 gold medals and 62 podium positions in total.

Italy's Carlotta Gilli clinched her fourth gold medal of the championships as she won the women's 400m freestyle S13 final. The 23-year-old led the race from start to finish, keeping the European record holder Anna Stetsenko from Ukraine behind her. Stetsenko had to settle for a silver medal, finishing 7.74 seconds behind the winner, as Roisin Ni Riain from Ireland took the bronze.

“I’m very happy with this competition, this is not my favourite race so I’m happy with another medal. Tomorrow we have another one, as this is a really important test to understand how we are in the preparation. The next step is Paris [Paralympic Games],” said Gilli.

Gilli's teammate Monica Boggioni won her third gold medal at Madeira 2024 with a dominant performance as she took the victory in the women's 200m freestyle S5. The Italian world and European champion had been the favourite to defend her title ahead of the final and made no mistake, leading the race from start to finish, to claim the victory 10.36 seconds before silver medallist Iryna Poida from Ukraine. Czech Agata Koupilova took the bronze.

In another Italian display of dominance, Paralympic, world and European champion Francesco Bocciardo made a strong race in the men's 200m freestyle S5 final to retain his title in the event. Pushed all the way by neutral athlete Kirill Pulver, the 30-year-old Italian finished in 2:28.40 – 1.80 seconds faster than Pulver, who had to settle for the second place as Oleksandr Komarov from Ukraine finished third. Extending an impressive unbeaten run at major championships, the triumph was the third consecutive European title for the three-time world champion Bocciardo.

A strong contributor to the Italian medal haul, Stefano Raimondi closed a successful day for the Azzurri team by winning his fourth title at Madeira 2024, claiming the victory in the men's 100m freestyle S10 final 0.75 second before Ukraine's runner-up Ihor Nimchenko.

Twice Trusov

However, with 20 medal events left to fight for on Saturday, Ukraine have not given up their hopes to get past the Italians, adding another two gold medals to their Madeira 2024 collection on Friday.

In another tight S7 battle between Ukraine's Andrii Trusov and Turkey's Aslan Turgut Yaraman, one of the toughest rivalries of Madeira 2024, Trusov claimed the victory in the men's 50m freestyle S7. 

With a strong finish, Trusov won his third consecutive European title in the event that he has dominated in recent years. He clocked in at 27.10 – three hundredths of a second outside of his own world record and 0.45 of a second faster than Yaraman – to take his fourth title at these championships, where he has been on the podium six times in six days. Fellow Ukrainian Yurii Shenhur clinched the bronze. 

Trusov had hardly dried before he was back in the pool winning another medal, now in the men's 100m breaststroke SB6. It was however another Ukrainian, six-time Paralympic champion Yevhenii Bohodaiko, who was the star of that show, taking his sixth consecutive European title in the event. Bohodaiko, whose European record has stood since 2016, finished in 1:20.50 to beat runner-up Thijs van Hofweegen from the Netherlands by 5.60 seconds. Trusov finished nine hundredths of a second behind the Dutchman, having to settle for a bronze.

Great Britain are third in the rankings on 11 gold medals, one of which were won by Maisie Summers-Newton on Friday. The 21-year-old Paralympic champion and European record holder took the women's 100m breaststroke SB6 title in a comfortable fashion, finishing 7.78 seconds ahead of runner-up Evelin Szaraz from Hungary as Ireland's Nicole Turner claimed the bronze.

After winning five gold medals in five days, the king of the Madeira 2024 pool so far, Rogier Dorsman, showed some human features in the men's 100m backstroke S11. After a strong start, the 24-year-old Dutchman was just under a second from a sixth consecutive triumph on the Portuguese island but had to settle for bronze, 99 hundredths of a second behind the Czech winner David Kratochvil. Six hundredths of a second faster than Dorsman, Portugal's Marco Meneses claimed one of two silver medals for the host nation on Thursday. With a total of three silver medals in Madeira, the home fans have yet to hear the national anthem played at a medal ceremony as the home swimmers have one day left to climb on top of the podium.

Podium for Portugal

The second Portuguese silver medal of the evening was won by Diogo Cancela, who finished 1.52 seconds behind Greek winner Dimosthenis Michalentzakis in the men's 200m individual medley SM8. The 21-year-old home hope, who finished second in Tuesday's 100m butterfly S8 before, had had the best time in the heat and was in the lead after 150m but could not respond to 25-year-old Michalentzakis's strong freestyle swimming in the last length. Cancela's two silver medals make up for two thirds of the host nation's medal tally. Mark Malyar from Israel took the bronze.

Paralympic champion Iyad Shalabi, who had just missed out on the first place in the men's 100m backstroke S1, won the men's 50m backstroke S1 title and completed his Madeira 2024 tally of a bronze and a silver with a medal in the most precious metal. Ukraine's Anton Kol clinched the silver medal 1.70 seconds behind the winner as Italy's vice Paralympic champion Francesco Bettella took the bronze.

Poland's veteran Jacek Czech won the men's 50m backstroke S2 title. The 48-year-old vice world and vice European champion finished 2.16 seconds before neutral athlete Vladimir Danilenko in second place to take his first gold medal at Madeira 2024, having had to settle for a silver in his two previous races. Defending European champion, Ukraine's Roman Bondarenko, clinched the bronze, 7.74 seconds after the winner.

France are sixth in the nation rankings on seven gold medals, six of which have been won by Dmitri Granjux and Ugo Didier who will hope to continue their success into their home Paralympic Games later this year. 

Granjux led the men's 200m freestyle S3 final all the way to win his third gold medal at Madeira 2024. In a display of dominance, the French 18-year-old beat runner-up Denys Ostapchenko from Ukraine by 9.39 seconds as Turkey's Umut Unlu finished third.

Didier also continued his glorious Madeira 2024 campaign on Friday with a victory in the men's 100m backstroke S9. The French 22-year-old came from far behind in the closing stages of the final to make an impressive comeback, taking the lead with only metres left of the race. He finished with a 0.23-second margin down to neutral athlete Yahor Shchalkanau in second place. It was the third gold medal in four races on the Portuguese island for Didier, who had to settle for a silver medal in Wednesday's 100m freestyle S9 final.

Spain's Nuria Marques Soto won her fourth consecutive European women's 100m backstroke S9 title and her second gold medal of the championships, once again showing that she is in great form. Also in good shape, neutral athlete Daria Lukanienko won the women's 100m backstroke S11 gold medal in the new European record time of 1:17.89.

Lisa Kruger from the Netherlands won her second gold medal in Madeira as she finished first in the women's 100m freestyle S10 in 1:01.18 – 29 hundredth of a second faster than runner-up Emeline Pierre from France. Italy's Alessia Scortechini was less than half a second behind the winner but had to settle for a bronze.

Complete schedule, results, records and medallists of the Madeira 2024 European Open Championships can be found here.