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Home News Road to Chengdu: meet Khadija Alajdi El Idrissi, Italian rower

Road to Chengdu: meet Khadija Alajdi El Idrissi, Italian rower

Rowing 22 July 2023

She will be one of the rowers to watch at the upcoming Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games. Captain of the Italian female team, Khadija Alajdi El Idrissi arrives in the Sichuan capital with a solid track record.

At 22 years old, the member of the CUS Torino (the University Sport Center of Turin) has already won 37 medals in her young career. Her impressive collection includes all three colours in various categories (Double, Coxed Four, Coxless Four and Eight) and multiple events (Junior and Under 23 World, European and Italian Championships).

Is such brilliance the result of her unwavering determination or the genes of her grandfather, who liked rowing on the Po River decades before Khadija was born? Probably both.

“I always give it all and I never give up,” she likes to say.

Both Mauro Tontodonati, her coach, and Gaia Colasante, her teammate, praise her determined character.

“I feel safe when I’m rowing with her,” Colasante says. “She’s strong and competitive and she will always do whatever she can to reach our common goal.”

“She has always achieved the best, so I hope she can do it again in Chengdu,” adds Tontodonati.

Besides rowing, Khadija Aladji El Idrissi is studying nursing. Having recently earned her bachelors degree, she now aims to complete her masters.

“In the beginning it was difficult, many people did not understand that I wanted both to study and be an elite athlete,” she recalls. But once again her determination convinced all sceptical minds. And she proved right.

Khadija’s mother, Claudia Bertolotto, is very supportive. “She showed everyone that it was possible to do sports at a high level and succeed at university in parallel,” she says.

Although she tends to plan one thing at a time, the student-athlete from Turin sees herself helping people in difficult countries like Afghanistan after her dual career.

“As a nurse I learn a lot from my patients and I would like to put the experience I gain to serve people living in harsh conditions,” she says.

But for now, her focus is fully on the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games.

“We have a strong Italian team and we trained hard for this important competition, so we hope to come back in Turin with medals,” she says.

“The best is yet to come.”

Additional Information:

The Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games start on 28 July and conclude on 8 August. Rowing competition is scheduled from 4 to 6 August and will be live on

Watch the video (also on FISU.TV)