Jones on top of the world after defending European crown
Taekwondo

Jones on top of the world after defending European crown

12 May 2018 / 09:35

Jade Jones has known highs like no other in taekwondo but even she could revel in a feeling incomparable after defending her European crown by the narrowest of margins.

The double Olympic champion is no stranger to the taste of success, yet a sensation unlike anything else before came her way in Kazan, Russia, even if the result was exactly the same.

Pushed all the way in the -57kg gold-medal bout, it was only by superiority that saw Jones atop the podium once more – her fate in the hands of the judges’ verdict after she and Hatice Kubra could not be separated after golden score.

But victorious the Brit was, not alone in securing gold as Christian McNeish also celebrated victory to extend his unbeaten run to five tournaments.

There was also bronze for Bradly Sinden and, with heavyweight champion Bianca Walkden still to compete, the British contingent have already matched their medal tally of four from the last Euros in Montreux.

“A win is a win,” said Jones. “When I won it was like a better feeling than ever before because it was so close.

“So, I feel on top of the world. I did really well in my first two fights but the third one (the semi-final) was a bit iffy.

“I was losing going into the last round and managed to pull it back.

“I just kept saying to myself, ‘I cannot lose this, I have got to do it' and thankfully I did.”

To say Jones started the day in dominant fashion wouldn’t do justice to the 25-year-old’s beginnings, beating Konstantina Tzeli on points gap having raced into a 21-0 lead.

The form continued thereon, 24-3 the manner of victory this time against Turkey’s Tugba Yilmaz, guaranteeing herself a medal with a place in the semi-finals.

But her last-four bout proved trickier, narrowly overcoming Patrycja Adamkiewicz 17-14 – taking her place in the gold-medal match where drama and top spot suitably followed.

The same fate fell McNeish’s way, with his unbreakable -68kg form continuing with yet another gold medal, still unbeaten in the calendar year.

But he had a hard task getting to the top of the podium, overcoming Sarmat Tcakoev on his home Russian mats – a 28-21 victory his eventual margin of success.

With it came a small piece of history as Britain’s first -68kg European champion, victorious in four tough fights en route to the winning post.

“I am happy but I am glad the day is over,” he said.

“I felt good in the final because there wasn’t any pressure on me. I told myself to go and enjoy it and happy for me it went my way.”

After Jordyn Smith’s bronze on the opening day, impressive British performances continued in the shape of Sinden, picking up the same colour medal in the -63kg category.

Semi-final defeat to Hakan Recber may have come his way, losing a 46-39 thriller, but that couldn’t take away from an already memorable moment – defeating 2015 world champion Jaouad Achab 27-13 on his way to the last four.

Sportsbeat 2018