TAEKWONDO tot Oliver Chamney has developed into a black belt holder...at the age of seven.

The Pensby youngster took up the sport at the age of three-and-a-half and follows in the footsteps of fellow Wirral Taekwondo Academy member Nathan Saunders who was also seven when he gained black belt status four years ago.

Nathan has now advanced to a second degree black belt.

Oliver trains with instructor Brian Anderton at the Pensby Taewondo Club.

His brother Harry, 10, is also a black belt.

The Wirral Academy now boasts 250 black belts, the oldest being a 62 year-old enthusiast from Eastham.

Academy founder Richard Saunders – Nathan’s father – said: "We have a great team to pass on the enjoyment of what taekwondo is all about.

"We keep the youngsters enthusiastic and encourage the discipline and respect it gives to students."

Richard, a sixth degree black belt and a world class coach, added: "The academy opened three year ago and is going from strength to strength.

"We even have a Kiddies Club taking youngsters from two-and-a-half."

Almost 30 academy members are celebrating after successfully passing their black belt grading recently.

They travelled to Bristol to perform their skills in front of four eighth degree masters of the sport and a grand master ninth degree.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, something like karate. There are no weapons involved.

The main Wirral academy is based in Bromborough and currently 50 classes a week are held there.

The complex boasts an 192sq m training area and the latest running machines, stretching machines, punch bags and pads for students to use.