OLYMPIC champion Jade Jones has described losing at the World Championships as ‘the biggest blessing’.
A year after winning gold at the London Olympics, the 20-year-old from Flint suffered defeat when she was beaten in the quarter finals of the Mexico games in July.
The former Flint High School student has now admitted that at the time the loss led to her ‘falling out of love’ with taekwondo.
Speaking to the BBC, Jade said: “After the Olympics and being on such a high and then losing in the World Championships, I was distraught.
“I just wasn’t enjoying it any more,” she said. “I used to jump out of bed and go running to training and I got to a place where I didn’t want to train. I stopped loving the sport.”
But she added that in hindsight, the defeat actually removed a lot of pressure and also helped her appreciate her status as Olympic champion.
“I was going into every fight thinking I had to win because I was Olympic champion – and putting too much pressure on myself. I lost my hunger,” she said.
“Now I feel that I love taekwondo again, and I know this is what I want to be doing.
“I’m an Olympic champion for life and I’ve learned to enjoy what that means. I’m now in a lot better place mentally.”
Jade was speaking just days ahead of a fight in the Manchester Grand Prix on December 13 which will be the first time she has competed in England since the Olympics.
The competition is the first in a series of four events that lead up to a grand final in 2014.
The ranking points on offer count towards qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“These are vital events to win to keep you at the top of the pack,” said Jade.
“My aim is to get to number one and I want to beat as many people as I can to get to the top.
“But the main aim is to stay in the top six because when we get to Rio, the top six automatically qualify for the Games."