World Taekwondo Grand Prix: World number one Jade Jones to trial ‘new weapons’

She may well now be a marked woman on the taekwondo circuit, but world number one Jade Jones insists she is using her ranking to her advantage ahead of the final stages of qualifying for the Rio Olympics.

The 22-year-old from Flint – who famously became the first ever Briton to win a taekwondo gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London – hit top spot in the world rankings following a sensational start to 2015.

She had to get over a disappointing blip at the World Championships in Russia in May – where she went out at the quarter-final stage in controversial circumstances when the electronic scoring system crashed during her bout.

But after picking up a silver and a gold from two World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series events so far this year, Jones is so far ahead in terms of Rio qualification she is looking to use the remainder of her competitions to hone the skills that may help her claim gold once again in 2016.

“This year has gone really for me and I’m ranked number one in the world now,” she said. “I’m ahead by about 50 points so I’m really comfortable in terms of what I need to qualify for Rio, so it’s all going really well.

“Because I am so far ahead in the rankings I’ve been trying to use that to my advantage, so I’m going into the competitions to trial and practise new things as if I get to Rio I may need to pull a new weapon out of the bag when I can.

“So I’m just trying to add things to what is in my game already, and keep on improving as much as I can and getting better.

“People always say to me that maybe the pressure is off as I have the points I need already, but every time I step onto the mat I feel that people are expecting me to win.

“I always feel the pressure to win so I don’t think being number one takes that away at all.”

Up next for Jones is the Manchester Grand Prix later this month, where she will get the opportunity to strut her stuff in front of a home crowd and add to her already bulging 2015 medal haul.

And she admits that while she may not have been on top form at the world championships, she has gone from strength to strength since and is now firing on all cylinders with Rio on the horizon.

She said: “Going into the world championships this year I had literally won every competition going into it, but I lost there which was really upsetting but a big eye-opener for me.

“Mentally I wasn’t right and I needed to sort that out, and that result opened me up to changing a lot of things to make me mentally a lot more prepared.

“But I have managed that and since then the training has been harder too, so it was a wake-up call.”

The World Taekwondo Grand Prix – featuring the very best Olympic and world champions from across the game – is coming to Manchester on October 16-18. Tickets on sale at

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