Students at an Oswestry-based martial arts club did not allow the pandemic to get in the way of them achieving their black belts.

Last week, four students of Whitchurch, Malpas and Oswestry Taekwondo Club achieved their black belts after passing their grading in Stourport-on-Severn last Saturday.

Cody Marshall, Carl Willmott, Dan Valentine and Emma Jupp had to endure the longest black belt grading process the club had ever been involved in, as a result of Covid-19.

It takes at least four years of training to grade for a black belt, before the grading process itself, which began for the four students in March this year.

All four students passed their pre-grading in Nottingham and were ready to grade for their black belts when lockdown was enforced with competitions and physical training postponed.

With training moving online, students had to wait until the National Governing Body for Taekwondo in the UK and the British Taekwondo Council gave the green light for training and gradings to resume.

After it was safe to do so, the four students achieved their black belts, and coach Carl Rudolf was delighted to see them pass their gradings.

He said: “They were tested by performing a range of moves, patterns, set sparring, and knowledge of Taekwondo.

“After a long process they were all successful and promoted to First Degree Black belt.

“I am delighted for Cody, Carl, Dan and Emma who have been dedicated and trained extremely hard for their black belts over the years and during this difficult time for everyone.

“They thoroughly deserve their black belts having not given up after facing many challenges over the last few months.

“They’ve done themselves and the club proud.”