Kickin? back at the world

SIX minutes in a ring, confronted by an opponent with the ability to continually deliver skull-swivelling kicks to the noggin!

Sounds more like something most of us would prefer to watch than endure.

But to Ben Purnell and Brad Corbett, the scenario is one in which they will wear the green and gold of Australia and take on the world's best Taekwondo exponents.

Purnell, from Lennox Head, and Corbett, from nearby Tintenbar, are preparing to represent Australia in the 14th International Taekwondo Federation World Championships, from July 9 to 14 at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast.

They earned the honour by remaining undefeated in the middleweight (63-71kg) and hyperweight (80+kg) free sparring divisions, respectively, at the Australian team trials held at the end of 2004.

Between them, Purnell, 22, and Corbett, 21, represent 30 years of combined dedication to their art.

They are being trained in preparation for the championships by local Taekwondo instructor Wes Langford, who has been their mentor since they were infants.

The duo's preparation has included squad training, lead-up tournaments in Sydney and Melbourne, bi-weekly training in the dojang and sessions at Ballina Fair Gym.

And despite Australian Taekwondo being hampered for decades because of a lack of international competition, largely because of Australia's geographic isolation, Purnell and Corbett have a fighting chance.

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