PORT Macquarie martial arts duo Rodel Glanville and Sam Cobourn have had to follow different paths in their goal to represent Australia.
But they will both end up at the same location when they head to Russia in September to don the green and gold at the 14th World Wushu Championships in Kazan City.
Four years ago, Glanville hung up the boots after several years of playing rugby and basketball and said his path into martial arts had been a surprising one.
“It’s gone leaps and bounds past my expectations,” he said.
“I started first competing at the Australian Martial Arts Championships doing semi-contact point sparring and then I moved up into the full-contact bare knuckle karate.”
Remarkably, Glanville won the Australian championships in 2015 before he took a year off last year from competing.
“The last thing I thought of would be representing Australia again for anything really,” he said.
“It was more to keep up my fitness but when I started doing the Australian tournaments and became state and national champion that made me think I could do it.
“When this tournament came around and I found out it was going to be in Russia, we both knuckled down and said this was going to be our goal for the year.”
Glanville labelled the opportunity to wear the green and gold as a humbling experience.
“To be able to represent Australia is a real pinnacle in sporting achievements for me,” he said.
After being more accustomed to partying and drinking, Cobourn has been involved in martial arts for the last seven years.
Prior to that he played soccer before a bout of patella tendonitis ended his career.
“Back in 2015 and 2014 I partied a lot, but I felt it was a bit like chasing your own tail and I felt like I was going nowhere,” he said.
“I stopped drinking and partying and got right into competing and one of my goals was to represent my country.
“Originally I started with karate back in 2013 when I got my first black belt, then I moved into jiu jitsu and MMA.
“Then I did kickboxing. I’ve had 11 full contact fights for 10 wins and one loss.”
Cobourn will compete in the under-70 kilogram category, while Glanville has been selected as Australia’s representative in the under-75 kilogram category.
The tournament is the next tier down from the Olympic Games so the two Port Macquarie fighters will have their work cut out.
But to get there they require some help from the community to raise $10,000 to help them get to Russia.
“We’re looking at doing a fundraiser on August 14 as a trivia night so hopefully we can get the community to help us get there.”