Flint golden girl shows how she landed gold medal


David Humphreys

FLINTSHIRE’S golden girl showed off her medal winning technique at a session with college students.

Jade Jones, from Flint, was on hand to offer some tips and tricks as she led a taekwondo demonstration at an event with students at Coleg Cambria Deeside.

Jade, who clinched Team GB’s 25th Olympic and first British taekwondo gold medal in the 2012 London Games, joined in with a Zumba class with the students in Connah’s Quay.

The event was organised through the National Lottery, which managed to secure funding for the current Olympic champion to join up with GB Taekwondo in Manchester five years ago. Before then Jade had been set to move to the then Deeside College from Flint High School to continue her studies.

Speaking to the Leader, the Olympian reflected on another busy year. She said: “It has been a good 12 months. I’ve just got silver at the European Championships in Azerbaijan but obviously that’s not the colour I wanted.

“I’ve learnt a lot and improved a lot and now there’s so much more competition because we’re all chasing ranking points for the qualification to Rio – so yes, I’ve got loads of Grands Prix coming up and it has been a good year.”

Losing out in the final of the -57kg event in Baku to Spain’s Eva Calvo Gomez was particularly disappointing for the 21-year-old, who said defeat has not become a habit yet.

“At the time I was devastated as I got beaten by the girl who beat me at the last Grand Prix so I’ve never been beaten twice. I get beat once and I get them the next time so I was really heartbroken by that but had to just get back to training and get to that next level. I made a lot of mistakes in the Europeans so I need to cut them out for next time,” she said.

Despite living and training in Manchester, Jade maintains her heart remains in Flint and she returns to her home town as much as possible.

Although the two-year anniversary of her triumph is fast approaching, public warmth doesn’t appear to have dampened down.

“It has been amazing [to get so much] support, I didn’t ever expect it to be as much as it has,” she said. After the Olympics, when I came home, there were banners in people’s windows – people are still saying well done to me and it’s nearly two years later, it has been amazing support.”

The ever-busy Jade, who managed to fit in a quick pitstop with youngsters involved with a playscheme at Coleg Cambria, said all her focus is now on Rio in 2016.

“It’s going to be hard to get the double because when I was going in to the 2012 one I was the underdog and nobody really knew who I was like, ‘who’s that Jade Jones?’.

“But now everybody researches me and I find it so much harder every time I step into the ring. But I definitely know I’m good enough to defend the title.”

With the Commonwealth Games approaching in Glasgow and the baton to go up Moel Famau on Friday, Jade said she’d love to win a gold for Wales one day.

Currently, taekwondo isn’t one of the 17 sports listed for the event.

“Taekwondo should definitely be in the Commonwealth Games. I’m from Wales and I always fight for Great Britain so it would be amazing to fight for Wales and try and get a gold medal for my country,” she said.

See full story in the Leader

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