Manchester-based taekwondo gold medalist Jade Jones is hoping her historic London 2012 Olympic win will inspire a new generation to take up the sport.
The 19-year-old became Great Britain’s first ever Olympic taekwondo gold medalist as she defeated China’s world champion Hou Yuzhuo in the -57kg final last night.
And now Jones predicts more success for Team GB’s in taekwondo as Sarah Stevenson and Lutalo Muhammad compete today.
“There was a lot of pressure on taekwondo to do well here, because we have got the potential,” said the Welsh fighter, dubbed the ‘head hunter’ due to her direct style.
“The whole team has come a long way in a short period of time. We are getting bigger and better. Hopefully now more people can get into taekwondo.”
Jones faced a tough path to Olympic glory as she had to defeat world number one Tseng Li-Cheng of Chinese Taipei in the semi-final after earlier wins against Serbia’s Dragana Gladovic and Japan’s Mayu Hamada.
And her remarkable 6-4 defeat of China’s Hou allowed her to exact revenge against the fighter who beat her in the 2011 World Championship final.
She said: “It still doesn’t feel real, it feels crazy. I’ve dreamt about it for ages, and now it’s here, it’s amazing.
“The Youth Olympics gold was special at the time because obviously I was only a junior but you can’t beat this, it’s amazing.
“This is also for my coach Paul Green, he’s a legend. Without him I wouldn’t have been nowhere near where I was today. And the crowd, with every little negative thought I had when I came out, I just wanted to go and win for them.”
Jones was born in Bodelwyddan in Wales, but now resides in Manchester for her training – which she has given her all.
“I have been getting up at six in the morning to do extra training with my coach, who has been amazing,” she said.