TWO Milford Haven Karate Club members have achieved coveted 1st Dan blackbelts.

Andrew John, 21, and Josh Whatling, 20, have achieved what was described as the ambition of every martial arts enthusiast.

The pair have been a part of the club for nearly 14 years, and after prolonged dedication have achieved their dream, following national success as fighters and gaining numerous podium finishes around the country.

The exam, conducted by a panel of judges, consisted of nearly three hours of tests of technical ability, combinations, fitness and competition fighting to push the students to the limits and put pressure of the grade.

The duo trained for nearly three months to prepare themselves mentally and are regular fighters at competitions to keep their fitness at a peak.

Chief instructor at the Milford club, Kevin John, said is was a special occasion for him to see the boys gain such coveted status in the sport.

“It was emotional to see them achieve their black belts as they been part of my club since they were kids. To see them come through in what has been a tough time with the pandemic.

“This was two years in the making. They stayed focused and never complained once - they are an inspiration to the club and role models to others.”

Kevin added the pair now had aspirations to continue in the sport and one day fight on the European and World stages.