Great Britain’s Jade Jones has followed in the footsteps of her fellow Youth Olympic Games athletes Chad Le Clos and Jangmi Kim to win a memorable gold medal.
Nineteen-year-old Jade Jones won Britain’s first-ever taekwondo gold on Thursday night when she beat Hou Yuzhou of China in the women’s under-57kg finals in an intensive day of competition. Going into the final, Jade was still the underdog against Hou – the winner of last year’s World Championships final, but Jade stunned the crowds in both the semi-finals and finals with her trademark head kick, helping her claim the number one spot.
In a tense match, where the first round remained scoreless, Jade managed to pull out a stunning victory and beat Hou 6 - 4. “Before I came out I was thinking that she took my World Championship final. That killed me for ages. So I wasn’t going to let her beat me here in front of a home crowd,” Jade said. “I came here to get the gold.”
Jade, who won gold in Singapore at the first Youth Olympic Games two years ago after her hometown helped her finance her trip for the qualifiers, said winning the Olympic gold was something else. “The format of it was the same (as Singapore) but obviously it’s a home crowd here and it’s bigger. Taekwondo is a low-key sport so to have this level of support is overwhelming.”
“To be the first British athlete to win an Olympic gold (in taekwondo) is just amazing and the crowd is bonkers - I can’t explain it.” Being a teenage Olympic champion hasn’t come without sacrifice, "I had to watch all my mates going out while I was training and I had to move away from my family at 17 which was hard." But after months of blood, sweat and tears (not to mention the early morning starts) the gold medal makes it all worth it.
Elsewhere in the park our other Young Olympians were in action with the Netherlands‘ Twan van Gendt making it through to the BMX semi-finals. He will race again later today. Over in the hockey stands, Mohammad Rizwan (Junior) and Kashif Syed Shah helped Pakistan’s hockey team finish seventh overall in the competition as they beat Korea. While on the race track, Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman finished in sixth place setting a new record for his country.