Jones and Walkden clinch World Grand Prix gold

Double Olympic champion Jade Jones ensured a golden finish to 2016 with victory at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.

Jones, who retained her -57kg Olympic title in Rio this summer, defeated Egypt’s Hedaya Malak 7-0 in the final, having eased to a 12-0 semi-final victory  over Ah Reum Lee of South Korea.

It was the 23-year-old’s first event since landing Olympic gold in August, and she was joined on the podium in Baku by Rio bronze medallist Bianca Walkden, who captured her first ever Grand Prix crown in the +73kg category.

Having lost to eventual Olympic champion Shuyin Zheng in the semi-finals in Rio, Walkden sought revenge in the best fashion, defeating her Chinese opponent 3-1 in the final.

Baku has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the Brits, with Jones having won European Games gold in 2015 and Walkden winning the first of her European Championship titles there the previous year.

“After winning the Olympics I felt so much more relaxed coming into this tournament,” said Jones. “People don’t realise how hard it is to come back from an Olympics and fight again.

“It can be an anti-climax after the Olympics so I am really pleased to come here and get gold because I didn’t do that after London.

“And it’s extra special when we both win titles because we both push each other so hard. It will be a happy room and we can both celebrate together.”

A delighted Walkden added: “It was great to beat the Chinese girl in the final to get my own back. This is my first Grand Prix success so it is another title ticked off the list.

“I wanted that Olympic gold but to get bronze, win the Grand Prix and the Europeans, it hasn’t been a bad year.

“Jade and I live in the same house, we are best friends and to come out and win the gold together is really nice.”

Their success brought Great Britain’s final medal tally to three golds, after Charlie Maddock triumphed in the -49kg category on Friday.

Fellow Rio Olympian Mahama Cho reached the quarter-finals in the heavyweight division, only to lose out on golden point against Russian Vladislav Larin.

Sportsbeat 2016