Renowned French Karateka Christophe Pinna, 55, one of the best competitors of his generation, on Friday, September 1, started his second technical seminar in Kigali. The multi-European and World Karate Champion conducted his first seminar in Rwanda in April 2022. Famed for his dynamic kicking ability, he won multiple titles at European and World level. A remarkable competitor, he returned to active competition, trying to pursue his dream of representing France at the 2020 Olympic games, in Tokyo, Japan. Born in the Saint Sylvestre District of Nice, France on March 18, 1968, Pinna started practicing Taekwondo – a Korean martial art – at the age of five. He became the French Taekwondo Junior Champion at the age of 17, in 1985. ALSO READ: Karate: French legend Pinna conducts second seminar in Kigali Pinna began his military service in 1986 joining the famed Joinville Battalion (Ecole Interarmées des Sports). That same year, he started Karate and became the French Military Karate Champion, the French Junior Karate Champion and also won the European Junior Karate Championships title. By 1990, Pinna was one of the best Karate competitors in Europe. He represented France at the 1990 European Championships held in Vienna, Austria and won a bronze medal in the -80kg individual and team Kumite event. Pinna won his first global title in the individual Kumite event in the World Championships held in Algeria in 1993. That year, he helped the French team to win the team Kumite title at the European Championships held in Prague, the Czech Republic. He won a bronze medal during the World Championships in the individual Kurnite event held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in 1994. He also helped the French team to defeat Great Britain in the final of the team Kumite event. Pinna achieved great success in the European Championships in both the individual and team Kumite events in 1995 in Helsinki, Finland when he won his first individual title in the open weight event. He was also a member of the team that defeated England in the Kurnite final. In 1996 Pinna repeated the feat of the previous year at the European Championships held in Paris, France in individual and team categories. The following year, he made history in Tenerife, Spain becoming the first man to win three consecutive open weight titles and he also helped France to beat Italy in the team Kumite final. At the 1996 World Championships held in Sun City, South Africa, Pinna helped France to retain their team Kumite title by defeating their main rivals Great Britain in the final. Two years later, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he helped France to win their third consecutive world team title defeating England in the final. In 1998, following his many successes, Pinna was appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the French National Order of Merit by President Jacques Chirac. At the 2000 World Championships held in Munich, Germany, Pinna became a double World Champion by winning the individual Kumite tittle in the open weight category and defeating hosts Germany in the team Kumite event. Coaching career Shortly after the competition, he retired from competitive Karate, deciding to end his career at the pinnacle of the sport. Following his retirement from competitive Karate Pinna moved into coaching. He started his coaching career working for the United States national team in 2000 and the Greek national team in 2001. In September 2001, Pinna was appointed coach for the national team of France. The following month he was nominated to be the World Athletes' representative at the World Karate Federation. In 2005, Pinna resigned as coach of the French national team. Shortly after, he was asked by the French TV channel TFI to provide classes for students of the reality show, The Star Academy. Pinna was promoted to the rank of Officer in the National Order of Merit in November 2005 by the French President. On July 3, 2006,, he was awarded the National Order of Merit for his services to sport. The ceremony was held at the Beau Rivage Beach in his home city of Nice. On September 24, 2011 Pinna was awarded his 6th Dan. The honorary grade was presented to him by Nice Deputy Mayor, Christian Estrosi. Away from Karate Pinna and his friend Samuel Etienne took part in the Marathon des Sables in 2014. The event is a six-day 251 kilometer ultra-marathon held annually in the South of Morocco, in the Sahara Desert. On August 3, 2016, it was announced that Karate would be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In order to be a part of the Olympic dream after over 15 years away from competitive Karate Pinna resumed his training at the age of 48. After several months of intensive training, he competed at the Apes-Mauritines District Championships in January 2017, competed in two international tournaments in 2017 to familiarise himself with the changes in the last 17 years. In March he competed in the Rotterdam Open and the Dubai Open. At the French Championships, he lost his Olympic qualification. Defeat made him re-assess his Olympic dream and he acknowledged that at 50, his body was struggling to meet the demands of high-performance competition. Pinna is a true legend of European and World Karate. A dominant competitor in the 1990s, he won almost every medal or title available to him. The pursuit of his Olympic dream, although unsuccessful, has been a real inspiration for many showing that the competitive spirit never dies.