A SCHOOLGIRL has beaten the bullies – and her sporting rival – to scoop gold.
Grace Perez’s family signed her up to the Chi Taekwondo club, in Durham, when she was just five, to help her deal with children who were picking on her.
Now, five years on, the 10-year-old has won the title in her weight group at the Liverpool Open Championships, by beating Tahya Fells, the British champion.
Grace, sister Lily, eight, and dad Andrew, 34, took up the sport together.
Andrew, who is now an instructor with Chi Taekwondo, also collected a silver in his class at the same competition.
The dad, who is moving his family from Penshaw to Carrville, said: “We started because she was bullied at school and now she’s taking part in national competitions.
“She’s never had to use her skills, but she knows she could if she had to. It’s done wonders for her confidence and really given her a lift.
“She’s had quite a few close fights with Tahya so far and we’re just over the moon and just proud of her, she did brilliantly and fought really well.
Grace said of her win: “It was really good.”
The youngster is now working hard training for the Ultimate British Open contest in September.
Chi Taekwondo also runs clubs across the country, including one based in Biddick, Washington, and at Valley Road Primary, in Hendon.