Santo Torre, Italy's national coach of karate, was in Malta a few days ago for the Malta Karate Federation (MKF) annual training camp hosted at Mount St Joseph, Tarġa Gap.

Maestro Torre (7th Dan) was accompanied by Giuseppe Bartolo, a Sicilian specialist in the field of Kumite (sparring), and two Italian national team members, Alessandra Cremona and Eric Torre.

The training camp, with the sponsorship of Nestlé Malta, was attended by 115 of the federation's members.

Asked about the role of karate in today's sporting context, Maestro Torre said: "Sometimes karate is unjustly linked with violence due to its association with commercial movies and games. Karate, however, is a discipline which seeks to help the individual align the body with the mind."

Maestro Torre also made a direct reference to karate within the Olympic fold.

"Everyone knows that karate's omission from the Olympic frame was due to political reasons since there was no official world body representing the sport," he said.

"Today, we know for certain that the World Karate Federation will be recognised by the IOC in 2009 and will attain Olympic status in 2011. However, we will only be able to participate in the 2016 Olympics."

Maestro Torre reckons karate in Malta is flourishing.

"Karate is gaining a lot of ground in my opinion, especially since the federation was established. Maltese athletes have already gained success in foreign competitions and this year the federation is working intensively to participate in the European Championships in Turkey next February."

Kenneth Abela, MKF president, said the aim of the training camp was to bring members together in a training environment. He said another important task entrusted to Maestro Torre was a series of special classes for all chief instructors within the federation.

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