Karate comeback trail

Alexander Diaz Dehaney, he won bronze at the Australian Open. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Esther Lauaki

Alex Diaz Dehaney is fighting his way back to the top.

The Hoppers Crossing fighter won a bronze medal at the Australian Karate Federation’s Australian Open held recently in Liverpool, New South Wales – his first tournament after 10 weeks off following appendix surgery.

Diaz Dehaney, who competed in the kumite individual male senior +84 class, said the competition brought him a step closer to attaining his goals.

“I had surgery and was out for 10 weeks, which left me with two weeks training as much as I could before the tournament,” he said.

“I was doing yoga to strengthen myself but couldn’t do anything else.”

He has his sights set on winning a world title in Canada in June.

“It always feels good to get a podium placing,” Diaz Dehaney said.

“I can push myself to get better … with my eyes on Canada to put myself on the map. I’m hoping to perform well for Australia.”

The Cuban-born fighter has Olympic dreams, too.

“I was in the national team in Cuba,” he said. “I’ve been doing karate since I was six years old and officially competing since I was 10.

“I have a few more tournaments later this year and, depending on how I go with them, I want to be able to qualify for the Olympics – that’s the ultimate goal.”