Cullen sisters are making their mark on the national stage

Leona Cullen and Ben Haines
Leona Cullen and Ben Haines
Ben Walker. Picture: Neil Marshall (170311-1)

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Sisters Leona and Jaden Cullen are already making their mark as two of the brightest young talents on the national taekwondo stage.

Leona, eight, won the British title in Manchester with three wins out of three in her weight category.

Leona and Jaden Cullen

Leona and Jaden Cullen

That followed the news her sister Jaden, 14, had secured a place in the Great Britain Cadets squad.

The talented duo are from Gosport and have learned their trade with club British Taekwondo South.

Mum Alexandra, who also competed at the nationals, revealed Leona’s big success came as a nice surprise in what was only her second national competition.

‘It’s really boosted her confidence,’ said Alexandra.

‘We are very proud of her and she is proud of herself. When she got her medal she was beaming.

‘It was a nice atmosphere and it was perfect for Leona who really enjoyed the competition.

‘The Great Britain fighters were involved and they helped with the warm-ups. The venue was buzzing.

‘She was extremely pleased. She exceeded all the expectations.’

The championships were a glorious success story for British Taekwondo South.

Great Britain Academy squad member Ben Haines, from Horndean, led the way for the club who had a clutch of national champions.

Haines has shown what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.

He is a great role model for the Cullen sisters, especially with Jaden now starting out on her journey in the GB ranks.

Alexandra added: ‘Leona and Jaden love Ben. They know him and they can see what he has achieved.

‘They have both got Olympic aspirations and are doing really well.’

Leona also trains with Suki Gymnastics Club, in Gosport, and attends Wallisdean School, in Fareham, who have been very supportive of her taekwondo.