Taekwon-do marvel Aimee Young (11) has become the first Carluke-based girl from her club to earn a coveted black belt.
The XS Taekwon-do member passed a grading in Coventry on March 3, after turning down a school trip in favour of being driven south as deep snow hit Scotland.
Her mum Laura said: “We had been worried about what the roads would be like with snow all week before setting off on the Friday morning.
“All the local roads were shut later, so we were lucky to get out of Carluke. We reached Coventry to hear that 20 taekwon-do people who’d only had to travel 22 miles from Birmingham had called off!”
Laura said the fact that Braidwood Primary pupil Aimee had turned down a five-day school trip to Ireland in favour of travelling nearly 300 miles to the English Midlands spoke volumes about her character.
“That school trip would have been a great opportunity for Aimee,” Laura (35) added.
“But she is so decicated and committed to taekwon-do that she went down to Coventry.”
And that visit – arranged by club head coach Marie McAneny – went ideally as she impressed Grand Master Roy Oldham by scoring over 60 per cent in all four of the grading categories to pass her 1st Degree Black Belt exam with flying colours overall.
These sections – done over two hours – consisted of speaking Korean; patterns; sparring and thesis.
Aimee, an XS member since 2013, waited patiently for her name to be read out at the subsequent presentation ceremony as it was done in the alphabetical order of participants’ surnames.
“Aimee’s face lit up when her name was read out,” Laura said. “When she got her certificate from Grand Master Oldham, one of the other Masters commented that her smile was amazing.
“No words can describe how proud I am of her.”
One day after becoming a black belt, Aimee made her weekend even better by winning a junior sparring gold medal at the LTSI English Open Championships in Hatfield near London.
Aimee also got a team gold medal with XS, while Carluke clubmate Jamie Miller won an adult sparring bronze.
Aimee benefits from being part of a strong taekwon-do family also including dad Brian, little sister Zoe (8) and younger brother Evan (4) who all do the martial art.
The 11-year-old first got interested in the Korean discipline through the influence of her grandad Gordon Lawrence and her aunt and uncle Emma and Calum Lawrence, all of whom are black belts.