Taekwondo gold for Jones caps meteoric rise

12 August 2012 / 13:17

British Taekwondo has the perfect platform to go into overdrive after Jade Jones landed a first Olympic gold and Lutalo Muhammad delivered a bronze medal from London 2012.

While there was no fairytale ending for Sarah Stevenson, who lost in the first round after her own tough journey to what is likely to be her last Olympics, and Liverpudlian Martin Stamper was beaten in his fight for a bronze in the under-68kg, Team GB still enjoyed a historic showing at ExCeL.

Jones, nicknamed the Head Hunter, simply blew everyone away in the under-57kg - starting with a 15-1 victory over Serbian Dragana Gladovic and then putting out world number one Tseng Li-Cheng of Chinese Taipei in the semi-finals.

The Wales teenager, though, saved her best for last, gaining revenge over Chinese fighter Hou Yuzhuo, who had beaten her in the final of the 2011 World Championships, as South Arena 1 erupted in a sea of Union Flags.

The home crowd were in full voice again 24 hours later as Muhammad delivered a first men's Olympic medal when he recovered from a quarter-final loss to eventual silver medallist Nicolas Garcia Hemme to come through the repechage and beat Arman Yeremyan of Armenia in the bronze contest.

It has been a meteoric rise for Jones, who only came into the GB Taekwondo programme two years ago, since when she has won gold at the Youth Olympics, a world silver medal and now her remarkable triumph at London 2012.

This could be just the start of a memorable martial art career for the 19-year-old.

"I don't want to be one of those one-hit wonders, I want to be performing at that level all the time," Jones said.

"My coach says the amazing thing about me is I'm doing so well, but I have still got so far to go.

"Hopefully there is so much more to come from me. I will just keep training hard and keep trying to get better."