A TEAM of young fighters from the region is taking part in an international martial arts contest this weekend.

Youngsters from the North-East Kickboxing Academy, based in Burnopfield, are competing against Germany at Stanley Civic Centre in County Durham, on Saturday.

The team, trained by former world champion Wes Fagan, from Dipton, is currently are undergoing a gruelling training schedule and diet to make sure they are in the best shape possible to take on the squad.

He said: “All the NEKA fighters are 100 per cent dedicated to kickboxing. They live it, and train sometimes eight times in seven days.

“They are on strict diets and because of this they are getting the wins.

“They are one step away from claiming world honours. I’m very proud of them all as there are family and friends who travel all over, supporting them.

“They are such role models for the community; outside the ring they are normal school children, inside the ring they are athletes.”

Topping the bill is 15-year-old Zach Glendinning, from Lanchester, who is defending his European title against German champion Denis Floeur.

Terri Stuart, also 15, from Dipton, who won a European title in France in January is taking on Elif Kendir.

Mr Fagan said: “It is a bold statement but I think Zach and Terri are the best junior kickboxers in the world.

“They have fought the best from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium and Morocco.”

Doors open at 3pm with the first 3.30pm. Tickets cost £25 can be booked by calling 0799-938-3740.