IT HAS been a wonderful year for Jade Jones.
Not content with winning gold in the first ever Youth Olympics, the tae kwon do ace from Flint has just landed a top sporting award after being voted Junior Sportswoman of the Year at the BBC Cymru Wales awards ceremony in Newport.
Jade, 17, had no idea she had been nominated for the prize and barely made the ceremony because of the Arctic weather conditions.
Jade told the Leader: “I had an email inviting me to the awards but I thought I was just going along as a guest. I had no idea I had been nominated so when they called out my name I was really surprised.”
Proud mum Jane added: “She just about made the ceremony because her train was delayed.
“The battery on her phone had died so I wasn’t even sure if she had made it. The family and I were at home when her win was announced over the radio and we were chuffed to pieces. What a lovely surprise.”
With no airs and graces, Jade travelled back to Manchester on the same evening where she lives and trains during the week.
“Jade won’t let this go to her head,” said Jane.
“She hates missing any training and just throws herself straight back into it.”
Jade made history when she became Britain’s first ever Youth Olympic gold medalist.
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 at the games in Singapore.
The teenager also took bronze on her senior competition debut at the European Tae Kwon Do Championships and a silver at the World Junior Championships.
Jade first tried tae kwon do when she was eight after being encouraged by her 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 be successful.
Jade was also one of 10 contenders for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award to be held later this month, but did not make the final three.
She said: “I was a bit gutted I wasn’t chosen but there was stiff competition so I don’t really mind.
“I’m off to Cuba in January for a two-week training course so I have got that to focus on and then there is the US Open in June.”
Mum Jane said: “Her next ambition is to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
“I have every faith she will do it.”
See full story in the Leader