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20000822_Black Belt Academy established

   During the first meeting of the Black Belt Academy, held recently at the Hibernians Judo Club, Corradino, European Judo Federation sports director Franco Capelletti took the 18 Black and Brown Belts through some advanced techniques on the mat.
    Capelletti, an 8th Dan being the highest graded Italian Black Belt, was the coach of the first Italian to win an Olympic gold medal in judo - Ezio Gamba. During the meeting he showed elaborate groundwork and standing techniques which at first look very simple but need a lot of practising to master.
    During the meeting various certificates were distributed by Malta Judo Federation president Envic Galea and Capelletti. These included among others a 2nd Dan certificate to Reno Portelli who passed away two years ago. Protelli's certificate was collected by his wife Eileen who herself received a 2nd Dan certificate.
    A surprise was in store for Galea at the end of the meeting. MJF sports director said they had held communication with the EJU and received the go-ahead to award Galea a sixth Dan certificate for his contribution to the development of judo in Europe.
    Capelletti then said he held talks with Jean Luc Rouge, the EJU head of sports directors, and he was in agreement to award the 6th Dan to Galea who now holds the post of European representative on the International Judo Federation Education Committee. 
    Capelletti added that he and Galea will be working closely together in the coming months to organise competitions all over Europe. He symbolised their friendship by presenting his own red and white belt with Capelletti's name embroidered on it. The belt had been presented to him by the Mecca of Judo - the Kodokan of Japan.
    It was then announced that the MJF had nominated Capelletti as life honourary member of the MJF and patron of the Black Belt Academy.
    The academy is now composed of: Franco Capelletti (patron); Envic Galea (president); Alex Bezzina (sports director); Mario Cardona (secretary); John Zammit, Eileen Portelli, Manuel Cassar and Ivan Zammit(members). 
    The function of the academy is to organise judo activities for Black and Brown Belts of the MJF; to organise social functions; to assist the federation in promoting the sports and disciplines affiliated; and to organise kata, refereeing and coaching seminars as may be required from time to time.
    Meanwhile, it was revealed that the first commitment for the academy will be to assist the federation in organising a national coaching course in collaboration with the University of Malta.