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Launch of ABSSI



Presentation of the Andrew Bertie Sport Science Institute

At the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry

Valletta, June 19, 2012:  This morning at the Chamber of Commerce Enterprise and Industry, a sports Institute was presented to the Maltese public. This is the Andrew Bertie Sport Science Institute, which the Malta Judo Foundation established and named in memory of their patron, H.E Andrew Bertie, who passed away in 2008.

Andrew Bertie was not only the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, but also a Judoka and an academic, thus the Foundation wanted to dedicate this important project of the Institute to him.

H.E. Anthony Miceli Demajo KM, Chairman of the M Demajo group, Maltese Ambassador for Romania, representing the Maltese Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, gave a short remembrance of Fra’ Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie, the person, the Judoka, the academic, the Prince and the Grand Master, who loved Malta and the Maltese so much.  Fra Andrew was the first English man elected Grand Master since 1258.  Fra’ Andrew was the youngest son of the 7th Earl of Abigngdon; both sides of his family has royal ties through the centuries. Bertie was educated at Ampleforth Abbey School, Christ Church, Oxford and at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He taught French and Spanish for 23 years at the Worth Abbey School, run by the Benedictine monks.  H.E Miceli Demajo broke the news that that a month ago started the process to study toward the beatification of the former Grand Master and Prince.

Mr Andre Fenech, Policy Development Manager of The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry explained that the launch of this institute will hopefully usher in a new attitude towards professionalism in the industry of sport, and this will be the first milestone in achieving this change in culture, similar to that which happened in tourism. The KMS is also supporting these statements and welcomed the Foundations decision to take this initiative. Mr Caruana Curran, KMS Director, explained the various schemes the Government launched in the last 3 years to help the athletes be more professional at their feat. The next step is to take these schemes to the coaches and administrators.

Envic Galea, director in this new institute, explained that he had spent many years of research on the ideal way to consolidate the experience of sports people and coaches into an academic professional qualification, when he was Education Director for the International Judo Federation and the European Judo Union. Many Olympic and World Champions ended up without a job or doing precarious work and their experience going to waste, he noticed  that recent developments in academic evolution allowed that their experience could be invested in a Foundation Degree.

In collaboration with Bath University and with the help of Dr Mike Callan, in 2005 they launched the 4th Level Performance Judo Coach Certificate Foundation Degree in Sport (Sports Performance) and in 2007 they followed with the 18 month 5th Level High Performance Judo Coach Certificate, BSc (Hons) in Sport (Sports Performance). These degrees were delivered through a “Block Route” which means that all the theory was studied via distance learning and the students met twice a year for their practical and assessments. In 2010 in collaboration with the University of Tor Vergata, a Masters in Judo was also developed. Maltese Judoka who graduated through these systems were Alex Bezzina and Marcon Bezzina. Today Marcon and Joanna Camilleri are following the Masters and should graduate in November this year.

The Institute will continue on these experiences and give Sport in Malta a different image, the image of professionalism. Envic Galea said that he compared the present state of Sport as Tourism. Today tourism is well regulated and the Institute of Tourism Studies ITS main responsibility of the Institute is “to furnish the Tourism Sector with professional personnel who can guarantee an excellent standard of products and services within the Hospitality Industry”. Their Mission Statement is “Developing people through quality learning to achieve excellence in tourism”.

As Mr Caruana Curran said, Government has started to give the economy of sport more attention, becoming more aware of the potential. Mr Galea said that if this trend has to grow, we need professionals to organise events at the highest standards, we need professional coaches to prepare our athletes, and we need professional administrators to make the sport economy grow.

The ABSSI will address these problems of lack of professionals by providing solutions. Today at the Chamber of commerce the ABSSI has concluded a series of meetings with two heads of two prestigious Universities, Dr Sheila Pankhurst Head of the Department of Life Sciences of the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, who runs four departments; Sport and Exercise Sciences, Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Animal and Environmental Biology and Professor Attilio Sacripanti representing Professor Antonino de Lorenzo, Head of department of nutrition and wellbeing At the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” Director of the graduate school of nutrition science Coordinator of PhD in “physiology of corporeal areas” at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Manager clinical nutrition service Parenteral therapy and Nervous Anorexia. ABSSI already had other contacts in Rome with Prof Sergio Cherubini of Tor Vergata University faculty of Marketing and are already in the process of preparing various levels of Post Graduate Studies in Marketing to be delivered on-line on the Institute’s platform, which is already operational,

Dr Sheila Pankhurst thanked the Institute for the invitation and said that the Anglia Ruskin University looks forward to contribute to greater collaboration between the two teaching institutions. Dr Mike Callan, who collaborates with Anglia Ruskin and runs JudoSpace said that he is also ready to work with the ABSSI on the same basis that he did with Envic Galea and the EJU.

Prof Sacripanti said that Professor de Lorenzo finds that there is much that can be done with the institute, particularly in the fight against Obesity in Children and Adults. Profs de Lorenzo a world authority in this field promises closer collaboration with the Institute, especially as Malta is so advanced in referencing courses to European standards, definitely more advanced than Italy, in the European Qualification Framework and the Institute has a place in the International Education Scenario especially by collaborating closely with the Tor Vergata national graduate school of nutrition science in which Prof. De Lorenzo is the head. Together with the ABSSI they have the intention to make this school international.

The first courses to go on line in October will be the first three levels of coaching and in March the Foundation Degree in High Performance Coaching and the Bachelor of Science Honours. Other Post Graduate Coach Qualification, ranging from Certificate to Diploma, to degrees and Masters should follow soon in due course after being referenced to the European Qualification Framework. All the courses on offer will be available on www.sportinstitute.org

The Press Conference was presented by Charles Camenzuli, Press Co-ordinator for the Institute