Objava: 06.05.2016 | 23:20 Magazine
When the referees raised the flags and declared the winner of one of the semifinals of the Male Kata competition at the 2016 Karate European Championships, the crowd attending the event in Montpellier roared in excitement. One of the local fan favourites had just achieved the cherished goal of qualifying for the final of the tournament.
It was a momentous accomplishment for French Karate idol Vu Duc Minh Dack. The 33 years-old Karateka had been left out of the finals of the last two editions of the European Championships, in which the French Karate athlete had claimed two bronze medals. Performing at home in front of family and friends, Vu Duc Minh Dack managed to reach the title-deciding clash of a continental championship for the second time in his twelve-years-long career. Being in the final was the perfect farewell celebration for the Montpellier resident.
“This is like a dream. It was very difficult for me to get here, and I wasn’t even sure that I would be taking part of this tournament. So, to finish my career with a medal is like a dream come true. It will be even better if it is gold!,” said Vu Duc Minh Dack.
Representing his nation at home ground is not always easy, Vu Duc Minh Dack claims, but he didn’t feel the pressure this time around. “For me this competition is very special. My family cannot always be with me in the tournaments, but they all will be here for these finals, so I really hope that I can finish with a gold medal”, he added.
Tough final against Damian Quintero
It will not be smooth ride towards gold for French hopeful, as Vu Duc Minh Dack will clash with world ranking leader and current European champion Spain’s Damian Quintero. “I am sure that it will be very difficult because Damian Quintero is a very good competitor. It will be a good final,” declared the Gojo Ryu practitioner.
The two Kata kings from the neighbouring countries – and owners of the two top posititions of the world ranking – have met in a final once this season, in the Karate 1-Premier League in Rotterdam. Last year, in the only occasion in which Vu Duc Minh Dack reached the final of Karate 1-Premier League events, Damian Quintero was also waiting in the final. Both encounters ended with triumph of the Spanish ace (5-0).
Vu Duc Minh Dack expects the situation to be different this time. “I have the public and my family at my side. I hope that I can get a gold medal,” Vu Duc Minh Dack said.
If the New Caledonia-born athlete reaches the top of the podium, it will be his fourth gold medal in major international competitions in 12 years, following his victories in 2014 Karate 1-Premier League in Almere, the 2013 Karate 1-Premier League in Salzburg, and the 2012 Karate 1-Premier League in Netherlands.
Competing at home in his last major international tournament, the 2016 Karate European Championships will be an event to remember for Vu Duc Minh Dack, whatever the result.