Karate Kumite star Maria Torres (ESP) set to sparkle in Chengdu

Karate Kumite star Maria Torres (ESP) set to sparkle in Chengdu

As excitement is building up to the 12th edition of The World Games 2025, to take place in Chengdu (CHN) from 7-17 August next year, the IWGA is launching a series to profile some of the qualified athletes and countries.

In this series we will bring the athletes’ stories to the forefront, and engage with their individual journeys towards The World Games 2025.

Kumite karateka’s Maria Torres of Malaga (ESP) is the first athlete to be introduced. With a silver medal from The World Games Birmingham 2022 (+68kg category), the multiple World (2x) and Spain (17x) champion, is definitely one to watch for in Chengdu.

Reflecting on Birmingham, an instrumental event in her ascension, Torres says: “For me, it was a very special medal, as it was the first time I have participated in The World Games. When I qualified for the final, I was very happy because it was a really difficult goal to set myself.”

“I had set my sights on a silver medal, and that moment will stay with me forever. I had a blast! The Opening Ceremony was a lot of fun and I remember it as a very special moment in my sporting career,” she recalls about her first experience at The World Games.

Torres, current World runner-up, secured a berth to TWG 2025 at the 26th Karate World Championships 2023 in Budapest (HUN) when she clinched the silver medal at stake in the 68+kg category.

“After the World Championships, finding out that I had qualified for The World Games again made me very happy. My goal this time, in Chengdu, is to win a medal again,” the ambitious 26-year-old athlete says.

“For us, not being part of the Olympics yet, we see The World Games as our Olympic Games. The qualification process is the same, so they represent the same difficulty in getting to participate,” she explains.

Torres left Birmingham with great memories. In particular, she remembers the comaraderie and friendly atmosphere from the Athletes Village.

“There was very good energy in the village, and sharing with people from other sports was different and fun because you see how other competitors from other sport disciplines prepare for their competition. Among the Karate competitors there is always a very good atmosphere, as usual.”

2024 also kicked-off in spectacular fashion for the Spanish rising star, as she displayed her dominance in the heavyweight category at the Karate Premier League in Paris (FRA) in January, defeating England's newcomer Rochelle Walters (5-1).

“Right now, there is still more than a year left, so I am focused first on finishing this season. In May, we have the European Championship in Croatia, and that is my main goal. Once it's over, I will start giving my 200% to do great in Chengdu.”

Pondering on her rivals, she admits: “In general, the top 8 in each weight class qualify, so all of them are strong rivals to me. If I must pick one, I will say it's Sofya Berultseva from Kazakhstan, who won gold at The World Games in Birmingham,” confesses Torres.

“I consider the most difficult aspect of Kumite is maintaining focus throughout all the fights, because at this level, your opponent takes advantage the moment you disconnect.”

According to her, to achieve such heights: Physically you need a lot of explosiveness. In terms of personality, being consistent and hardworking is the key.”

Torres took up Karate at the age of 3, coached by her dad. A great admirer of tennis legend Rafael Nadal (ESP), at just 26 she has already dedicated her life to sport. She is a PE teacher in a school and is a Karate instructor. But she won’t stop there!

The International World Games Association (IWGA) is a non-profit-making international sports organisation recognised and supported by the International Olympic Committee. The IWGA comprises 38 International Member Sports Federations. It administers and promotes The World Games (TWG), a multi-sport event held every four years that features around 35 sports on its programme. The next edition of TWG will be in Chengdu (CHN) from 7-17 August 2025. 5,000 participants from more than 100 countries are expected to take part in this 12th edition. The latest Games were hosted by Birmingham, Alabama (USA).

For more information, please contact the IWGA Media and Communication team: [email protected], Tel: +41 21 311 12 97, or visit our website.