Gympie athletes face up to the world's best
MARTIAL ARTS: FOUR Gympie athletes are taking on the best in the world at this weekend's International Sport Karate Association World Cup in Sydney this weekend.
Riley Merrell, 7, Alvy-Jack Pinchin and Xavier Gomes, both 12, will compete in the junior ranks, while Ashleigh Rimmington, 24, will compete in the senior female expert black-belt division.
Rimmington herself has been chosen as a Commonwealth Games baton carrier.
Her parents, Julie and Trevor Rimmington run Gympie's International Sport Karate Association gym, Rimmington Martial Arts.
Julie and Trevor will accompany their charges to Sydney, as they are also among the chief senior referees and judges at the tournament.
Julie Rimmington said the athletes are a great example of determination within the sport.
"They are very dedicated, they train so hard,” Rimmington said.
"They really train their little butts off. They've got guts. Grit and determination.
"Regardless of what they do with us they go home and train hard.”
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The sport has had a positive impact on many of the athletes and Rimmington said the young participants continually improve.
"Xavier, for example, started aged four,” she said.
"When he came to us he was the shyest little kid you'd ever meet.
"Now here he is years later, a black belt and triple world champion.”
At the World Cup event in Sydney the athletes will take part in a range of disciplines.
"They'll be competing in lots of different divisions,” Rimmington said.
"Competing in self-defence, sumo wrestling, sword combat, kata all forms, weaponry in bow and swords, sparring, jiu jitsu.
"There's a multitude of sparring from no contact to full contact.”
The World Cup will be hotly contested by competitors from around the globe.
About 600 competitors were confirmed as of earlier in the week, according to Rimmington.
"Usually there's a really big contingent from Pakistan and India, they are usually the biggest contingents,” she said.
"They are usually quite strong but it seems to spread pretty evenly across the board, Australia competes pretty well.”
The three day competition started yesterday and ends tomorrow night.