TWO black belt karate students at the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington are striving to win a place in this year's British championships.

Jenny Cooke, 16, from Ferryhill, and 18-year-old Shaun Dawson, from Woodham, are both in the reckoning, having done well at regional and national competitions.

Jenny, a black belt 1st dan, recently won the Tyne and Wear Open, qualifying for the English championships in Sheffield. This should lead her to the British championships.

Shaun, a black belt 2nd dan, has high hopes of joining her and is in training for the Isle of Man championships over the Easter weekend. Success there could also mean a place at the British finals.

The pair spend five to seven hours a week training and teaching others, as well as studying for A-levels. They both train in Woodham at Zanshin-Kai.

Anita Blackburn, assistant principal at the college, said: "Both Shaun and Jenny are remarkable young people. They organise their lives effectively to achieve high standards in both their sport and academic studies. In addition, they find time for other activities - Jenny recently ran for president of the college's student association and conducted a rigorous and high-profile campaign."