Young karate players enjoying the Youth Camp in Croatia ©WKF

Superstars Douglas Brose and Luca Valdesi have helped inspire and instruct over 1,000 aspiring karatekas as the World Karate Federation's (WKF) Youth Training Camp and Karate1 Youth Cup opened in Umag, Croatia.

The first three days of the week-long event in the coastal city are devoted to the Youth Camp, where youngsters have the chance to improve their abilities and learn from leading figures in the sport.

Those involved in coaching include Brose, a two-time world champion considered one of Brazil's best players of all time, and Italy's world and European champion Valdesi.

Azerbaijan’s Rafael Aghayev, a multiple European and world champion at under 70 kilograms and under 75kg, and WKF Athletes Commission chair Davide Benetello are among others involved.

The hopeful young karatekas enjoyed the anticipated moment of meeting some of their idols, a WKF statement claimed, while karate heroes acting as instructors showed their enthusiasm for passing their experiences and knowledge to the avid youngsters.

Coaches demonstrating karate moves to the youngsters during the opening day of the camp ©WKF/Facebook
Coaches demonstrating karate moves to the youngsters during the opening day of the camp ©WKF/Facebook

A total of 1,249 participants from 56 countries signed-up, an increase on the 700 who participated at last year's event.

It began with initial training sessions in both kumite sparring and kata demonstrations.

A Youth Cup competition is due to get underway on Friday (July 1), which will feature the youngest participants.

Cadet, junior and under-21 categories will then come to the fore on July 2 and 3, the day the event is due to conclude.

The WKF hope the Training Camp and Youth Camp will continue to inspire youngsters to take up the sport, which has been recommended for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, along with baseball/softball, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing, by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board.

All five are expected to be rubber-stamped at the IOC Session on August 1 until 4 ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.