HOMEWORK proved the key for nine-year-olds Bethany Frodsham and Lauren Tunnicliffe as they excelled in their first-ever competition.
The youngsters, members of the South Cheshire Tae Kwon-do School, based at Total Fitness, Macon Way, Crewe, took top prizes at the North of England Championships, at Doncaster.
Beth won gold in both sparring and pattern tests in her weight category, while Lauren took silver at pattern, and bronze at sparring, in hers.
Instructor David Dowling revealed the girls are dedicated enough to practice at home as well as in his class - and believes it paid off.
He said: 'The girls really stood out at the competition. They work hard and concentrate with me, and they study theory and practice stretching at home. I think that stands them in good stead.'
David also had praise for the club's Student of the Year, Andrew Bennett, aged nine. He said: 'He deserved it because he perseveres and never gives up. He is developing in to a good student.'
Meanwhile, a trio of students from the Fighting Fit Martial Arts club have passed tough grading assignments.
Jordan Batho, 13, won his brown belt in kick-boxing, Daniel Rodgers, 17, became a black sash in kung-fu, and Yana Radcliffe, 15, became a black belt in kick-boxing.
Lee Ward, senior instructor at the 27-year-old organisation, which teaches several disciplines at bases in Crewe, Nantwich, Haslington and Sandbach, said: 'They have had to work very hard for their rewards. Black and brown belts are not just given away.
I'm very proud of them.'
Busy judo ace Joshua Wolfendale, 10, from Shavington, has enjoyed a successful start to 2007.
The current North West Champion Judo became Merseyside Champion after wiping the floor with opponents, and followed up by winning gold at a green belt and Under Open competition in Kidderminster.
Earlier, Joshua finished fifth in his section at the Hooglands International Tournament in Holland, and became the holder of an orange belt.