A SCHOOLGIRL has won a martial arts black belt at the age of nine.

Calistar Coates has been practising tae kwon do for four years and is happy to have reached the top belt.

The Consett Junior School pupil said: “I love the adrenaline of the grading and it is a good way to keep fit. All my friends are there. There are two boys who tease me as I am a higher belt than them, but it is okay because I can sort them out.”

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Calistar, of Delves Lane, Consett, County Durham, trains three times a week and is a member of Teuk Soo Tae Kwon Do. She added: “I am going to go for my second dan next year, but when I am 18 I would like to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal.”

She lives with her mother, Nicola, who is expecting a baby next month, stepfather Gavin, and sister Natasha.

The family saw her win the black belt with a display of moves and a sparring session at Doncaster Dome last week.

Mrs Coates said: “It has built up her confidence and strength and, although it is non-contact at her age, she would know how to protect herself if she got into any bother. It is a very hard training schedule, but she works very hard. I am the proudest mam in the world.”