Dubai: Just 12 years old and Czech Republic’s Riha Matej is already nursing ambitions of being a world champion.
“Karate is my life,” Matej told Gulf News after bagging the kata gold medal in the male under-14 category that had attracted 30 contestants from 12 countries. “I don’t mind doing anything to ensure this dream of being a world champion comes true.”
Encouraged by his father Zdenek, Matej’s love for karate was nurtured watching the popular childrens’ movie ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ as a seven-year-old.
But that was just the beginning for the cheerful Czech as the nearest club for practice is a good 125 kilometres away from home in the capital Prague. “I make the journey to and fro three times a week and the only time I get to study is when I am in the car,” Matej said.
“I don’t mind it at all as I love karate so much and am willing to sacrifice anything to be a world champion one day.”