SPORTS equipment donated to a kickboxing club has helped turn a group of youngsters into world medallists.
A group of 15 youngsters from the North East Kickboxing Academy, based near Chester-le-Street, are praising the community and businesses after returning from a major tournament with a clutch of gold, silver and bronze medals.
They say that the winning formula is down to the quality of the sports, exercise and training equipment which was donated to the club.
Last year, residents, councillors and businesses, including social landlord Derwentside Homes, which brought together funding providers and provided procurement advice, helped to raise £9,500 to buy the equipment.
It also helped to convert one room, which was previously a storage room and equip another that previously had a boxing ring installed, but had no other equipment.
All of the club members, aged between nine and 16, were selected for the British Freestyle Karate & Kickboxing Organisation (BFKKO) Great Britain team and competed in the World Organisation of Martial Arts Athletes World Games, in Telford, Shropshire, at the end of August.
Thirteen out of the 15 members returned with a medal and the other two came in fourth place.
The club, established in 2009, is based at a community centre and boasts some of the most talented kickboxing youngsters in the North East.
Former world champion kickboxer, Wes Fagan, 30, who alongside boxing legend Billy Hardy opened the facility in July last year, said: “I am over the moon with what they have achieved.
“They stood out from all of the other fighters.
“We are still a young club, but I am sure we will have some future world champions come from this club.”
There are between 30 and 40 children actively involved in the club and all youngsters are welcome.