Slovak karate representative Dominik Imrich is a four-time medalist in different European championships and all of them were bronze. Alongside being karateka, he studies at the University of Economics in Bratislava and performs the duties of a member of the municipal council in Liptovský Hrádok, his hometown. He has visited Tokyo twice and dreams of the Olympics since then.
It is usual for kids to start training karate because of a parent, siblings or friend. Dominik also started like that: “I started training as 6 years old. I had easy access to karate training, because of my father, Ján Imrich. He was a member of the Slovak National Karate Team and at the same time, he coached at a small karate club in my town. As a kid, I spent a lot of time close to him in the dojo, so it was the natural journey.”
At the four European Championships – Junior, cadet and U21 Championships 2014 and 2015, EKF Senior Championships 2017 and EUSA Combat 2019 – Dominik won a bronze medal. The one from the Euro Karate 2017 was much celebrated in his country since they were waiting for a medal in the men’s category for nine years – “It was a beautiful feeling. Everything you sacrifice, every training, every drop of sweat you see after that in that medal. It is hard to describe, you have to experience it.”
He was doing well even before the coronary crisis at the World Cup tournaments, where he finished seventh twice. The secret of his success might to have something with the way he trains: “When my father stopped being a coach (I was 10), he started to train just me in our flat. We made a dojo from my childhood room. I had there every accessory I needed to. I trained like that for almost 10 years. I can imagine that could be very annoying for our neighbours, but people around me were supporting me and they were accepting a little noise. Also, I am not doing traditional karate training. I train only Kumite. I do not even have a favourite technique.”
His preparations for #karateporec2021 is not easy at all: “I am studying Public Administration and Regional Development at the University of Economics in Bratislava. This semester is hard, lectures start at 9:15 and end at 20:05 most days. So, I have to train early in the morning or late in the evening. At the weekend I train more when there is a competition in front of me. Sometimes it is very hard, but if you love what you do, you can sacrifice for that everything.”
Perseverance is a keyword. Dominik believes it is a very powerful quality: “If you believe in something and you are persistent, you can accomplish whatever you want. You must believe in yourself and what you do.”
That’s how he believes in himself, his results and hopes of getting to the Olympics someday. For him, it is the culmination of the enormous effort that an athlete must make. He calls it a reward for a four-year effort.