MEMBERS of a Helensburgh martial arts club have wasted no time in grabbing plenty of attention – and a healthy haul of competition medals – following the easing of Covid restrictions.

Leading the way so far among members of the Steven McLaren Martial Arts group has been 3rd dan black belt Kirsten Barrett, from SMMA Peak Performance, who can now boast a winning streak of more than 12 fights across four different competitions in January, February and March.




Kirsten’s eye-catching performances so far this year have included starring displays in Liverpool, at the University Taekwondo League and in the GMS Taekwondo Championships, claiming gold in each event by dominating the ring and placing her opponents under pressure utilising her dominant kicks and ridiculous cardio making sure she always has a new gear to shift into.

Kirsten, whose taekwondo exploits were first featured in the Advertiser almost exactly 10 years ago, has been able, thanks to her ‘elite athlete’ status, to continue training throughout Covid at Peak Performance in Helensburgh, dipping her toe into the Olympic style world taekwondo and training for at least eight hours each week in this discipline alone.




She’s now preparing for her first experience of an open world taekwondo competition, at the Vision and Momentum Open in Wishaw, as she looks to defend her winning streak – and looks ahead to a competition diary which is packed all the way through to December.

Also among the SMMA medallists at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Lanarkshire was Hannah Cameron, who took silver in a very exciting match, fighting up a weight against a tall opponent who had to use her legs to keep Hannah out of reach.




Ewan Blair, who took two golds in the points sparing and continuous discipline in his first outing with the club, is looking like a real prospect for the future, while Alan Ballantyne took gold in the heavyweight division, constantly pushing the pace with his head-down aggressive style which is a fan’s favourite and always draws a crowd.




Last up for the Helensburgh competitors was Fin McQuade, who didn’t quite come away with the results expected after the move between boxing/kickboxing and taekwondo, but was by far the better fighter, missing out on gold on the judges’ decision but showing he has everything it takes to be a future SMMA champion – with the quintet showing there are exciting times ahead for the club.