A pensioner has become a black belt kickboxer under the expert tutelage of a former world champion.

Janet Thompson has been training with Wes Fagan for over ten years at the North East Kickboxing Academy in Burnopfield.

Janet, who is 69, of Consett, earned her black belt after a gruelling four-hour  test including tough circuits, work on bags and pads work, and ten rounds continual sparring with fresh opponents each round.

She had to perform the whole kickboxing syllabus in front of three senior black belt kickboxing instructors.

He said: “Janet is a joy to train. I really can’t express how proud we all are of her.

“She trains alongside all of our young cadets and senior champions.

“Having the motivation to turn up to our training is unreal as we train very hard.

“We see young fighters come and go within a couple of years but Janet is relentless with training and her classes.

“She’s there every week without fail she has been for over a decade.”

Janet has also fought in the ring and on matts in competitions winning a medal for her club.

Wes said he was very proud and admires Janet’s commitment, enthusiasm and her motivation for training.

Get more from The Northern Echo and stay informed with subscription. Click here to find out more.

Most read:

He said: “I don’t like to talk about age but there’s no getting away from the fact that Janet is nearing 70 years old and still showing more determination and commitment to training than some of the youngsters.

“Week in week out she’s there.

“Knowing what was in store for her on her grading day and still turning up is remarkable.

“I’ve failed students 30 years younger than her with less enthusiasm or motivation.”

Her sparring sessions during the grading was against some other NEKA champion fighters including Kane Blakeburn, Josiah Clark and Simren Rakhra who all pushed her on the day.

The Northern Echo:

Wes said: “Our club prides itself because nothing is given, it is earned.

“When it comes to its grades, Janet has done it the hard way and nobody can ever argue or take it away.

“She is a black belt kickboxer forever.”