Thank you, José María Lorente: 40 years of friendship. And more

  • February 13, 2020
AIPS Europe President Charles Camenzuli and José María Lorente Toribio, second recipient of the AIPS Special Award for ’A life in Sports’.

Charles Camemzuli - AIPS Europe President

VALLETTA, February 13, 2020 -  To a certain extent the 83rd AIPS Congress in Budapest offered a different emotion; that of meeting again one of my mentors, who has always been an inspiration, José María Lorente Toribio. His eyes gazed as I leaned to greet him on the day he was bound to receive the AIPS Awards for a lifetime in sport media. For a few minutes at the Corinthia Hotel in Budapest I recalled the moment when I got inspired by José María way back in 1976, also at the Corinthia Hotel, but the one in Attard, Malta.
I was a twenty-year-old with only two years experience in journalism and was one of those within the newly instituted six-year-old Malta Sports Writers Association. The MSWA, affiliated to AIPS in 1972, had the task of organizing the AIPS Executive Committee Meeting in Malta between the 25 – 28 January 1976.
The Administrative structure was totally different from how it is nowadays, where only seven members of the AIPS EC were in Malta, including three vice presidents, one of which was Jose Maria Lorente, who was responsible for the day to day business of the meetings.

Lorente at the AIPS Congress 1962 in Madrid

It was my first experience at an AIPS EC meeting and I was drawn to the meticulous manner Lorente worked. ‘Camenzuli, help me so you learn’ was his first greeting. Hardly did I recognize that there was a thirty-year age gap between us. However, that was the start. In Malta in 1976, working side by side with Lorente gave me the first feeling of what ‘education in sport media’ was all about.
As he explained, that matter was to be discussed during the 1976 Congress in Mexico by Don Anthony at that time UNESCO lecturer for sport and media. ‘This is a topic we all have to work on’ he told me, and I bear this in mind to this day. He further explained to me how an AIPS Congress works even if in those years not many countries used to attend. He continued that ‘If you really want to be involved in AIPS, please do so as we need new people ready to work. But there is no hurry. First you learn the system, than you understand which role will suits you.’
The 1976 AIPS EC meeting in Malta ended successfully and through correspondence I remained in touch with José María. However there was a lapse for a few years until I made my first appearance as an observer at the Congress in Athens in 1982; ‘Now is the time that you start taking the matter seriously. Now you know the system and procedure,’ José María said. At the same time he talked to Massimo della Pergola, who was at that time General Secretary. ‘You will be near Massimo and he will teach you the rest. First step will be as scrutineer… then we’ll see,’ José María told me.

Maria Lorente in 1973

That was the start and I never looked back, understanding how the old school of sport media led the way for a new generation. However the enthusiasm of José María Lorente never faded especially when at the Oviedo Congress he presented the first edition of the ‘History of AIPS’. ‘Another mission is accomplished,’ he stressed.
The 83rd Congress in Budapest gave credit to Lorente in the best way possible. With more than half a century in the sport media, he deserves the lifetime award and definitely further now that he is nearing his 94th birthday. Ad multos annos José María. Now the 1976 young reporter has grown up.


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