A BARRHEAD martial arts club is celebrating a milestone after two of its Taekwon-Do stars represented Scotland at a major tournament.

Lauren Kee, 15, and Megan Moore, 23, travelled to Porec, in Croatia, with coach Ross Penman for the ITF (International Taekwon-Do Federation) European Championships.

In doing so, they became the first students from the I-Kick club, which was founded nine years ago and is based just off Cogan Street, to compete for the ITF Scotland team.

Although they didn’t medal, both Lauren, who has been at the club since she was six and is one of its first home-grown black belts, and Megan, who joined I-Kick as a black belt, took part in multiple events and gained invaluable experience.

Ross told the Barrhead News: “Both girls performed very well and proved they are ready to be at that level.

“We have some work to do and things to focus on in terms of the experience they gained from the event but it’s looking very promising.

“Lauren did five events over four days, which is quite a lot. Megan had one event less but both girls were super busy.

“Scotland ended up finishing ninth, which was brilliant.”

Barrhead High pupil Lauren and healthcare sector worker Megan made the Scottish team after a selection process in Ravenscraig, near Motherwell, in December.

Following this, the duo showed their commitment by attending weekly national team training in Livingston and Laurencekirk, in Aberdeenshire, at weekends from January onwards.

Their time and effort not only boosted their own development in the sport but has also created a “real buzz” around the club, with other young members now inspired to follow in their footsteps after watching them perform live via online links.

Ross added: “One of the nicest things about it all is that there are now so many other students who are maybe a couple of grades below or round about the same age as Lauren and Megan who are thinking ‘I could do that.’ “Before, it was always just me who would compete at these big events back in the day and it felt intangible to a lot of students but now they are seeing other students doing it who are like them.

“It fills them with confidence and hope that, with hard work and a bit more focus and determination, they could also do it one day.”