We all know the saying “It’s never too late”. It is so true. It’s never too late to be what you might have been, to fulfil your dreams, try something new or be better every day. This saying is especially true when it comes to Réka Molnár, a Hungarian karateka. While most of the kids started with karate very early, she decided to do it when she was 14: “Yes, I know I was a little old for starting, but fortunately I had never felt any disadvantages because of this. It happened so unexpectedly, as one year before I joined the karate community I had told my father that I would never be a karateka. My father is a WKF referee and he used to be a very good competitor as well.”

Something shifted in her one summer when her father held a karate training camp: “I didn’t want to stay at home. In the end, I loved the whole camp and the people I had met there. So when they told me to start practising karate after that summer, I finally did.”

She sure is glad for her decision, because karate brought her success, life-lasting memories and taught her how to fight for her dreams and stand up for herself: “I fell in love with the humility karatekas represent. I learned how to be strong and persistent in hard times, how to fall and stand up again stronger.”

A good example of that is the 2011 and U21 European Championships in Novi Sad. With two fifth places in the same category before that, Reka went to the competition with a medal in mind. Unfortunately, she lost for the bronze again: “It is my biggest disappointment. I really wanted to win a medal, after two lost medal matches. Losing again I lost was a very deep moment of my career.”

But here she is, with her head held high representing her country at the European Karate Championships in Poreč. The goal for Croatia is to do her best and enjoy every moment: “Of course, just like with everybody else, the medal is always a goal”, she said.

And when talking about medals, she won nine Hungarian national championships as well as bronze at the FISU World University Championships and EUSA European University Championships which was held in Zagreb in 2019., first time in history: “I believe FISU World Championship is my dearest accomplishment. I was so confident and strong in this tournament, I enjoyed every moment of it.”

The last thing we talked about with Reka is the importance of karate being at the Olympics, and what did that change for her in the last two years: “Olympic Games means a lot for every karateka.

“It is the highest-ranked competition of all time! The last two seasons proved that this is a lifelong opportunity for a karateka. I think that karate developed a lot in that period. Plenty of competitors from a lot of nations came to every tournament to be able to achieve the Olympic dream. The level of karate had grown a huge. For example, because of the Olympics, big sports clubs in Hungary set up karate departments. These clubs can provide professional circumstances and are able to have professional athletes. I belong to one of these clubs and I’m very grateful to UTE (my club) for being a professional athlete. Some years ago this was unthinkable.”

In the end, this is Reka’s thoughts for all karatekas “Enjoy the moment and do your best. I’ve never been in Poreč but I really want to go there, because I love Croatia, especially in the summer. I saw some pictures which were very nice, so I’m interested in this beautiful city.”

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© 56th European Senior Karate Championships
Croatia, Porec - Žatika Sport Centre - May 19 - 23, 2021