Former European Full Contact Karate champion Nato Ficarra has begun his search for the stars of tomorrow by launching a new academy.
The three-times European champion opened the doors to the academy, which is based at the Paradise Sports Centre in Ely, to 85 pupils, including those from across Newmarket and Ely, earlier this month.
Each of those attending the inaugural session were invited to do so by Ficarra after being hand-picked from the various classes the Cambridgeshire-based martial arts star runs throughout the eastern region.
“The idea of the academy is for me to be able to pass on my experience and put them all through their paces to try and find a future star,” explained Ficarra.
“Already from the first session there are plenty who are showing lots of promise.
“The feedback I have already received from the parents has been incredible.”
Although the initial academy session was attended by a bumper number of students, aged between five and 14 years, Ficarra has confirmed that the numbers will decrease each session as he bids to find the next champion.
“Once the academy is fully established I intend to only have around 20 pupils attending the sessions,” said Ficarra.
“By having a number this size it will allow me to spend more time with each student and help their preparations for competitions I plan to put them in across the country.”