Flintshire Tae-kwon-do star shortlisted for sports award

Reporter:

Lois Hough

TAE-KWON-DO star Jade Jones is following in the footsteps of British sporting heroes Andrew Murray and Wayne Rooney.

The 17-year-old from Flint has been shortlisted for a BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Jade made history this year when she became Britain's first ever Youth Olympic gold medallist in Singapore.

Now she one of ten contenders for the prestigious award, facing competition from the likes of sprinter Jodie Williams, weightlifter Zoe Smith and two-times BBC award winner Tom Daley.

A proud Jade told the Leader: “I watch the awards every year on television so to actually be there would be amazing, let alone win an award.

“This is the same award that Wayne Rooney won and it would be phenomenal to have the same recognition as him.

“Tae-kwon-do is a sport that is becoming more and more trendy.

“I feel honoured to have been picked because the others in the final ten are brilliant.

“There is lots of stiff competition.”

Jade was nominated for the award by her performance director, Gary Hall. “He told me he had nominated me but I just thought nothing of it,” she said.

“Then the BBC phoned up and told me I had made the final ten.

“I was just chuffed to pieces.”

Jade has had a sterling year so far.

The former Flint High School pupil took gold in the 55kg division when she overcame Than Thao Nguyen of Vietnam in a sudden-death play-off to win in Singapore.

The teenager also took a bronze on her senior competition debut at the European Tae-kwon-do Championships and a silver at the World Junior Championships.

And earlier this month Jade, who bowed out in the quarter-finals of the French Open at the weekend, met the Queen at an opening in London.

Jade said: “I wore my Olympic kit and my medal to stand out.

“She asked me what I had won my medal for and if I was hoping to compete in the 2012 Olympics.”

Jade first tried tae-kwon-do aged eight after being encouraged by family to take up an activity which would help keep her off the streets and teach her self-defence.

She quickly adapted to the discipline and, by the age of 11, had begun to believe she had the potential to achieve success.

Jade’s days are now taken up with intensive training in Manchester as she gives herself every chance to go as far as possible in the sport.

She will discover on Monday if she has made the BBC’s final shortlist of three.

The awards ceremony then takes place in Birmingham on December 19, screened live on television.

See full story in the Leader

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