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‘They will be Champions’: Dennis Baretta, the 18-year-old from Latina in the footsteps of Dell’Aquila in taekwondo


Blue taekwondo for men is not only Vito Dell’Aquila or Simone Alessio. Behind them there is a brood of young talents among which Dennis Baretta stands out above all. The 18-year-old from Latina represents one of the sport’s brightest hopes for the next decade, and with a dream in the drawer: to be able to participate already in Paris 2024 .

Followed by coach Giovanni Lo Pinto (who is also his teacher in Taekwondo 16 society) in almost all international competitions where he participates, Dennis discovered as a child this wonderful sport for a chance of life : a back problem of his brother Alessio brought the family Baretta to seek the appropriate discipline for his son to practice. Both brothers discovered taekwondo and fell in love with it.

From there the first races began and only 10 years old Dennis discovered what it means to get on the first step of a podium. With the same determination that characterizes him, he also received the first official call-up in blue (National Cadets). He therefore made his debut at the 2018 European Cadets of Marina D’Or in Spain and immediately hit the mark by winning a wonderful bronze medal in the -49 kg .

The Latino immediately moved to the junior category in 2019, where he was going to clash with older and more experienced athletes. But this did not represent an obstacle for Baretta, who continued to grind victories and trophies. Passed to -55 Kg, he won the Italian junior title in Riccione , after which the Covid pandemic arrived, which practically stopped all youth and senior activity. This did not affect the desire and determination of Dennis, who continued to train intensely, even from home.

After the forced break in 2020, the first post-pandemic races arrive and 2021 will be a year to remember for the Italian : still in the junior class (thanks to his “precocity” in the category), but this time in the -63 Kg, here comes the consecration with gold at the 2021 European Junior Championships in Sarajevo . A perfect continental review, starting from the second round where he wins by point gap 21-1 against the Turkish Kadir Santas. In the quarterfinals the blue finds the Greek Rafael Pappa, seeded number 2, crashed by a wide margin (21-13). The final then has no history against Serbian Marko Burusic, seeded number 4, asphalted 27-7.

In this new season Baretta was promoted to the senior category , and the results were not long in coming: here is the bronze a few weeks ago at the seventh edition of the President’s Cup in Durres (Albania) in the -63 kg (G2 Olympic ranking competition). So the first points for the ranking in its reference category at Five Circles, which will be -68 Kg. If a good day starts in the morning …


Maurizio Contino