Award-winning karate ace Ficarra dreaming of creating sporting legacy in Fenland

KARATE ace Nato Ficarra is dreaming of creating a sporting legacy in Fenland after being honoured with an international lifetime achievement award.

The three-time European Karate Champion, from Chatteris, has won all of his 117 bouts during a glittering career and now teaches karate to more than 500 adults and children across Cambridgeshire.

The 43-year-old picked up the illustrious honour from the International Karate Federation at a special ceremony in Italy, and now hopes to make a lasting impression across Fenland.

Ficarra said: “My right-knee injury (ripped cartilage) might actually end my fighting career at international level but I’ve got new dreams now.

“Martial arts is massive in Italy and I want to get the authorities and people of Fenland to realise karate and other martial arts can be equally massive here.

“I’ve created a legacy as a fighter and now I want to create one as an instructor too. It’s not just about creating winners. If I could get karate into the school curriculum I would be ecstatic. Children are growing up in environments where they can’t walk around safely.

“I’m striving to teach people about the art of self-defence and how to protect themselves. You can’t put a price on things like that.”

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After a successful pilot scheme in Witchford, near Ely, Ficarra says he wants to work with Fenland District Council to get karate into the area’s secondary schools. He also admits that opening a club in Chatteris is “high on his agenda”.

Ficarra said: “I was very shocked to get the award but it wasn’t until a few days later, when people started posting comments on an online forum that it all sunk in.

“One comment said ‘You are to martial arts what Frankie Dettori is to horse racing’ which was amazing.

“It’s inspired me massively and with some support I can see some great things ahead for karate and martial arts in Fenland.”