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World stage beckons kickboxing star

No goal is too challenging for Tahlia O’Connell, a kickboxing and karate champion who represented Australia.

Despite her young age, Tahlia is a second-degree black belt, dedicated to training five days a week.

“As soon as I started (karate) I loved it straight away and I was practising as soon as I got home from school and I practised constantly,” Tahlia said.

The Lalor Park resident has a plethora of awards under her belt, including coming first in the NSW state and national WAKO kickboxing championships.

karate1Skilful and highly professional kickboxer shows real dedication as coach and fighter. Tahlia also represented Australia and won bronze in the 2016 WAKO world championships in Ireland.

“I wasn’t expecting anything to be honest so I wasn’t really nervous in Dublin ... because of that I didn’t have pressure on myself, I was just excited for the experience,” Tahlia said.

“The bronze was a bonus.”

Eager to help others, Tahlia also manages to work as an instructor, teaching adults and children as young as three.

“It feels really good (to work as a teacher) because you can see them progressing,” she said.

“Some are really shy when they start and quiet but a few weeks in you can see them speaking up and volunteering in the class.”

Tahlia’s coach Daniel Jancek recognised her skill when she began training at the age of seven.

“Tahlia is always humble in victory and gracious in defeat,” Jancek said.

“She has the upmost respect for all of her peers and competitors, win, lose or draw, she displays great sportsmanship and is always very professional.”

Tahlia has been nominated for the Junior Sports Star Individual award.

Other categories include Junior Sports Star Team, Young Sporting Spirit (Individual and Team) and Service to Sport.

Nominate at localsports stars.com.au