Jones: Taekwondo getting bigger

10 August 2012 / 08:04

Jade Jones hopes Sarah Stevenson and Lutalo Muhammad can draw inspiration from her stunning taekwondo gold medal when they lead Team GB's charge for more Olympic success at ExCeL on Friday.

Jones avenged her 2011 World Championship defeat to Hou Yuzhuo of China in the women's under-57kg on the biggest stage of all on Thursday night. Stevenson will aim to add to the bronze she won in Beijing four years ago when she competes at under-67kgs. Muhammad, meanwhile, will also be in action at under-80kgs.

"There was a lot of pressure on taekwondo to do well here, because we have got the potential," Jones said. "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."

Wales teenager Jones had opened her Olympic debut with an impressive 15-1 victory over Serbian Dragana Gladovi and dispatched Japan's Mayu Hamada 13-3 in the last eight before a late rally of trademark headkicks beat world number one Tseng Li-Cheng of Chinese Taipei.

The 19-year-old from Flintshire showed no fear in the final against the Chinese fighter, closing out a 6-4 victory as South Arena 1 erupted. "I hurt my foot in the very first fight - it was a kick to the shin - so I had an injection in it," she said. "At first, I was whingeing and feeling sorry for myself, but I just had to deal with because I wanted to win."

Jones, who claimed the Youth Olympic crown in Singapore two years ago, added: "I have been dreaming about this, not sleeping and crying in training. The last thing I thought before I went out was she took my world championship away from me, and she was not going to take this one in front of my home crowd.

"Four years ago, I watched Sarah [Stevenson] win a bronze medal on the telly, and ever since I have wanted to go to the Olympics. I have been getting up at six in the morning to do extra training with my coach, who has been amazing.

"It is just all overwhelming to have finally got it, which shows that dreams can come true. It was such an amazing experience and I am so glad my family were all here to see it."

There was, though, disappointment for Liverpool's Martin Stamper, who had earlier narrowly lost his bronze medal fight against Afghan Rohullah Nikpah in the men's under-68kgs.

Stamper, a bronze medallist in the 2011 World Championships, felt a lapse in concentration proved costly. "It is tough to take because I have worked so hard over the past two years, when my performances have really picked up," said Stamper, who lost the semi-final to eventual gold medallist Servet Tazegul of Turkey.