Charlottesville Student Goes From Bullied To Martial Arts World Champion

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Like any four-year-old, Cameron Hazell had to put up with bullies in the classroom, but says Martial Arts was her saving grace.

Hazell explained, "At my school when I started it, I was always bullied and I didn't know what to do so I got better to know how to handle myself."

Hazell's mom, Lisa, has a different story.

She says she didn't know Cameron was being bullied until after she started taekwondo. 

Lisa Hazell said, "I started hearing reports from the teachers about how she was defending herself. She was doing little trick moves that we've learned here on the mat."  

No matter what the reason, the now nine-year-old black belt Hazell is now a world champion in the Creative Weapons and Extreme Weapons divisions, as she beat out hundreds of competitors from across the globe at the taekwondo world championships.

Her expertise is in nunchucks and sword.

Hazell trains at the ATA Leadership Martial Arts in Charlottesville. 

Owners Ryan and Elizabeth Cirone have been with Hazell since she was a student at the Covenant School, prior to moving to Stafford.

Ryan Cirone said, "She practices everyday. When she wakes up in the morning, she practices. Before she goes to bed at night she practices. A lot of it is hard work, dedication and never giving up."

Now, Hazell is eligible for the Youth Olympics, but her real goal is to represent the United States at the actual Olympics. 

A platform no bully could stand in the way of.

"The only thing that could limit her is how high she sets her goals, and she usually sets them pretty high," said Elizabeth Cirone.

Cameron said, "It's gonna take a lot of hard work, but I got this."

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