Ten-year-old is awarded black belt in tae kwon do

Lauren Windsor from Bonnyrigg. Picture: Dan Phillips

Lauren Windsor from Bonnyrigg. Picture: Dan Phillips

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SHE’S the pint-sized martial artist who has earned her black belt before graduating primary school.

High-kicking Lauren Windsor, ten, passed her tae kwon do grading last month to cement her place among the sport’s elite and is thought to be among the youngest Scots ever to achieve the feat.

The Bonnyrigg youngster, who began training at five years old, now hopes to emulate gold medal-winning Olympian Jade Jones by clinching honours at the World tae kwon do championships in Korea next year.

But further down the line Lauren is determined to match the ambitions of her idol by competing in the Olympics.

The St Andrews Primary School pupil, who trains twice a week with Elite Taekwondo Scotland Federation, said she had to overcome some nervous moments but was “chuffed” to earn her black belt.

“Tae kwon do is a really good sport and I enjoy it a lot. I’d recommend it to anyone,” she said.

“I watched lots of people at the Olympics but my absolute favourite was Jade Jones.

“She started tae kwon do really young and became really good, just like me. I’d like to go to the Olympics too one day.”

Mum Julie, 39, who teaches music and dance classes to under-fives, said the success of the GB Olympian had been a massive influence to her daughter. “Jade is definitely her heroine,” said Julie.

“Seeing what she achieved at the Olympics was so inspiring for her. Watching another young female doing so well gave her a lot of the enthusiasm and encouragement she needed while training for her black belt. At the moment Lauren just wants to work towards getting better and better, though maybe in the future she will look at following in her footsteps.”

But for now Lauren is focusing on competing in The 2013 Unified International Taekwondo Federation World Championships in Seoul.

“It’s amazing when I think I might be getting to go to Korea,” she said. “I am a bit nervous, but I’ll just have to constantly keep practising.”

Catherine Divine, 43, chief instructor at Lauren’s club at Dalkeith School’s Community Campus, said she had stood out from an early age and predicted great things from the youngster.

“Some kids have a natural ability and pick up the techniques very quickly and Lauren was certainly one of them,” she said. “I reckon we’ll see her at the Olympics one day.”

And her enthusiasm has already inspired her brother Liam, six, to take up the sport. Mum Jule said: “Confidence-wise, it’s good for Lauren and her fitness levels have improved. The discipline will be useful later in life, and it has given her self-belief.”

Tae kwon do, which combines combat techniques and self-defence, has been an Olympic sport since 2000.

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com