A PAIR of Bristol-based martial artists have taken first place in a national championship.
Kieran McDermott and Esme McCarthy from the Thornbury Taekwondo Academy, took part in the recent International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) competition, which was held in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
And they returned to their club victorious - both winning gold medals for sparring.
Kieran, whose grandparents hail from Castlebar in Co. Mayo, started Taekwondo aged seven and is now a 3rd degree black belt.
Esme, who took up the Korean-based martial art at the age of five, is a second-degree black belt.
They both attend black belt clinics and squad training, as well as their weekly classes at Thornbury, which was set up 20 years ago by Vaughan Buxton, a 7th degree black belt and a British, European and World title holder.
Following his win, Kieran said: “It’s a great event and it’s lovely to win a gold medal.
“I’ve been fortunate to train with Master Buxton, who is a top-class instructor and has helped me to hone my technique over the years.”
Kieran, who works as a trainee solicitor, is also a European Kickboxing Champion and Junior Taekwondo World Champion.
Esme, who is studying law at London South Bank University and works part time as a legal assistant, added: “We are lucky to train with one of the best sparring coaches in the country – with variety and fun brought to our sessions.
“Taekwondo is an enjoyable way to get fit, improve concentration and learn self-defence.”