KARATE kid Niamh Junner has told of her pride after being ranked the world’s number one in her class.

The Barrhead teenager is hoping for more success this year, having battled her way to top spot in the World Karate Federation’s female under-21 rankings.

In 2019, Junner won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Chile and, last year, took a silver medal at the European Continental Championships, held in Hungary.

She is following in the footsteps of her mum Lesley Anne and dad Douglas, who are both black belt karate experts.

Junner, who started learning martial arts at the age of eight, told the Barrhead News: “It’s unbelievable that I’ve been able to reach the number one ranking.

“The more I trained and took part in tournaments, the more I began to realise I could achieve something in the sport.”

Junner, 19, joined the highly-respected Shitokai Karate Club, based at Renfrew Leisure Centre, six years ago.

Since then, she has established herself as one of the planet’s best up-and-coming female fighters.

Junner said: “It was after I won the bronze medal in Chile that I started to believe that, with hard work and the great coaching I get at the Shitokai Club, I could maybe be the world’s number one in the under-21 class.”

Terry Connell, Junner’s coach at the Shitokai Club, described her rise to the top of the rankings as “an incredible achievement.”

“We’re very proud of her,” he added. “As a club, we provide a training regime that can take people to the elite end of the sport but also give people of all levels of ability the opportunity to keep fit and enjoy themselves through the sport of karate.”

Douglas is also proud of his daughter’s impressive efforts to secure the number one spot.

He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Niamh.

“She’s gone from a wee girl who could hardly kick and punch properly and, after joining the Shitokai Club, she’s been on an incredible journey to become the world number one.”

Mark Tokeley, Renfrewshire Leisure’s head of leisure and community services, added: “Well done to Niamh, who has shown great dedication to be ranked number one.

“It’s great to see someone who is coached and trains in one of our facilities do so well.”