WESTHOUGHTON’S very own karate kid, Penelope Massey Anderton, has won more international titles and added to her already impressive collection of silverware at the age of just eight.

The youngster set out to defend her European title in the latest WUKF (The World Union of Karate-do Federation) European Championship in Denmark at the end of last month.

In her age category, Penny reclaimed gold position in Kumite (fighting) as well as winning gold in Kata (a set routine), where she placed third the year before.

As well as her individual fighting triumphs, Penny’s team competed in the under 11’s Kumite competition and left happy after finishing second in Europe.

Only a week later, the youngster travelled to Birmingham to compete in the Great British Open Karate League, going on to win gold in Kata which saw her lift the Grand Champion trophy at the end of the competition.

Having only practised karate for two-and-a-half years, Penny’s future in the sport is already looking bright. Mum Nicole admits she couldn’t be prouder of her daughter.

“I try to keep my excitement subtle but I often think ‘wow, she must be something special’,” she said. “It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride.

“I try to film her but I end up passing the phone over to someone else because I jump up and down, going crazy!” Penny’s impressive successes, including winning gold in the World Championship last year, are driving her determination to fight her way into major competitions in the future, with a place at the Olympics her ultimate aim.

Nicole said: “She loves it. She doesn’t win gold all the time but those losses make her want to carry on and try harder.

“That way, hopefully one day she will be in the Olympics.”

Penny was inspired to start karate when she saw fellow karate kid Jesse-Jane McParland rise to fame on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent and has been obsessed with the sport ever since.

“She asked for a ninja kit and a traditional sword called ‘sai’ off Santa for Christmas, and she got what she asked for – except the sword was made of plastic, revealed Nicole.

“Penny is quite a quiet girl, but has lots of confidence in herself.

“You would never imagine her as someone who enjoys kicking and punching people.

“She keeps practicing on me and it hurts!”