Nine year’s work rewarded

Chloe and Leanne Dawson
Chloe and Leanne Dawson

TWO sisters from Exton have been awarded black belts after nine years of dedicated training.

Leanne Dawson, 16, and her younger sister Chloe, 13, both faced stiff examinations at Northampton on Sunday when the pair were assessed by Sensei Sahota of the Traditional International Shotokan Karate Association.

But while for many a black belt in a martial art would mark the pinnacle of success, the girls, who both attend Casterton Business and Enterprise College, have now set their sights even higher.

Leanne said: “Since I started my aim was to get a black belt. It is quite rare.”

But Chloe upped the ante, saying: “Now I want to get higher and earn dan gradings (which designate levels of black belt ability).”

Leanne was nine and Chloe six when they began to attend training at Southfield Primary School in Oakham in the evenings. In the build up to their recent tests they trained four nights a week.

“Friends at school are saying: ‘I won’t mess with you’,” said Chloe.

The pair completed a written exam as well as performing sets of techniques called kata and kumite, which is a form of controlled sparring to demonstrate skills.

Mum Debbie Dawson said: “We have always supported them and are very proud of what they have achieved.”