A NORTH EAST schoolgirl has won a silver medal at a major international martial arts competition.

Fourteen-year-old Morgan Curtis, from Darlington, represented the Team GB Taekwondo Cadets team at the martial arts competition in Marina d’Or, Spain.

Morgan, who became a blackbelt at the age of nine, won three matches throughout the competition, before facing off against fellow Team GB member Leyla Palser in the final.

This marked the first time in the history of the sport that two UK competitors faced each other in the final of a major competition, and after a hard-fought match, Morgan emerged with the silver medal, losing the final by only a single point.

She said: “I feel really happy and proud. I went in hoping to do well, but I was really nervous. Now the next step is to get into the GB juniors team, Fighting Chance, and eventually compete in the Olympics.

“A lot of young girls will be more into dancing, but I’d say to them to give martial arts to give it a try. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but you might love it.”

Morgan is following in the footsteps of her older sister, Taylor, who won gold at the competition last year, and her dad, John, an assistant taekwondo coach who regularly trains with both girls.

Morgan is a student at Hurworth School, near Darlington. Nichola Peaker, Hurworth’s head of school, said: “It’s fantastic to have a talented athlete like Morgan at our school, and we’re delighted that she’s done so well in this competition.

“It’s a testament to her dedication and all the hard work she puts into achieving her goals.”

Debbie Williamson, the head coach of Koryro Quakers, Morgan’s club in Darlington, said: “It’s amazing to think that we started training Morgan as a six-year-old, and took her up to black belt, and then to fighting standard, and now she’s competing in Europe.

“Morgan used to get beaten a lot and lose a lot of matches, but she never gave up, and she just kept pushing. Everyone at the club is just so proud of her.”