YEARS of hard work has paid off for two members of the Whitchurch, Malpas and Oswestry Tae Kwon Do club after achieving their 1st Degree black belts.

Luke Evans and Dexter McArdle both passed their black belt gradings recently, while Rebecca Manford achieved her 2nd Degree black belt.

Club coach Carl Rudolf praised the students for their dedication after a difficult year which was affected by Covid restrictions.

He said: “Our students have adapted and have been trying extremely hard to achieve their goals.

“After years of training Luke and Dexter’s black belt grading journey began in April with a mock grading.

“The mock grading assesses all the student who have applied to grade and met the requirements to be eligible.

“After passing the mock grading Luke and Dexter then attended regional training with Tae Kwon Do masters before they were then officially graded.

“They both performed extremely well and passed their grading, being promoted to black belt.”

Rebecca, 19, also had reason to celebrate after achieving her 2nd Degree black belt, but was made to wait longer to achieve her new belt after Covid restrictions caused her first grading to be rescheduled.

Carl said: “Rebecca’s 2nd Degree black belt journey began back in November 2020 when she successfully passed her mock grading and was scheduled to complete her grading in December however due to the lockdown gradings were postponed.

“Rebecca continued to train hard while being at university medical school and when restrictions were lifted she successfully completed her grading in July and was promoted to 2nd Degree black belt.”

All gradings were carried out following government, UK sport and British Taekwondo council restrictions and guidance.