Whitsunday Taekwondo students (back) Jack Hosking, Marivic Gaskin, Feywer White, Sebastian Foti, Joan-Maree Spicer, Tavis McDonald, (front) Chiara Foti, Imogen Howard, Jai Patrick, Alisara White and Chelsea Howard at their recent grading.
Whitsunday Taekwondo students (back) Jack Hosking, Marivic Gaskin, Feywer White, Sebastian Foti, Joan-Maree Spicer, Tavis McDonald, (front) Chiara Foti, Imogen Howard, Jai Patrick, Alisara White and Chelsea Howard at their recent grading. Contributed

Meet Whitsunday's youngest taekwondo black belt

WHITSUNDAY Taekwondo has awarded its youngest-ever black belt.

Instructors assessed 34 students from the Proserpine and Cannonvale Clubs last month, and trophies were awarded for notable achievements.

At just nine years of age, Chelsea Howard became the youngest student at the club to earn a black belt.

Chelsea started her training at Whitsunday Taekwondo Oh Do Kwan at age four. Her favourite part of the martial art is board breaking and she said her training had improved her concentration and made her more confident.

Chiara Foti also achieved a black belt and a Best Grading trophy. She started her training in 2014 at age seven and loves poomsae (patterns) and board breaking. She wants to continue training to achieve her next dan and learn to become an instructor.

The year's second grading was conducted by master instructor Vicky Gillam, 5th dan, and assisted by 2nd dan Jim Hodges and 1st dans Wiremu Tairaki and Neil Howard.

"All of the students have worked extremely hard to get to this stage in their training and there were some notable achievements on the day, including Best Grading trophies that were awarded to Alfred Gartrell, Lucas Zhang, Kody Collins and Chiara Foti," Gillam said.

"From the little Tigers - kids aged 4 to 7 - there were promotions to yellow Tigers for Alfred Gartrell, Max Taylor, Ashley Tao, Abel Sam, Jake Akers and Flynn Akers, as well as promotion to junior yellow belt for Khoi Pham, Chris Sam and Grace Lea.

"From the juniors and seniors, promotion to green belt for Sarah Acland, Tora Delac and Aaron McKay, and to blue belt for Jai Patrick, Alisara White and Imogen Howard.

"We also had promotion to red belt/black stripe for Marivic Gaskin, Sebastian Foti, Feywer White, Joan-Maree Spicer, Jack Hosking and Tavis McDonald, as well as junior students Chiara Foti and Chelsea Howard achieving their 1st poom/dan black belts and are now recognised dan and poom (under 15 years) holders with World Taekwondo (WT)."

Gillam congratulated Chelsea and Chiara on their new black belts.

"All of the students and instructors of Whitsunday Taekwondo Oh Do Kwan congratulate Chiara and Chelsea, as well as the other students who graded on an outstanding effort. Well done guys," Gillam said.