Taekwondo: Jade Jones shows way of the foot and fist for gold at London 2012

Welsh teenager wins Britain's first ever gold in martial art event

ExCel Arena

The cheers for Nicola Adams' historic boxing victory had barely died away before across the corridor at the ExCel Arena another of Britain's feisty females was punching – and kicking – her way on to the Olympic podium as yet another British golden girl.

Jade Jones, a 19-year-old from Flint in North Wales, became the first Briton to win Olympic gold at taekwondo, the martial art they call "the way of the foot and the fist", using both with fiendish dexterity to defeat the Chinese world champion Yuzhuo Hou, the in the under-57kgs featherweight final.

The protege of Sarah Stevenson, winner of a pioneering bronze in Beijing, she ripped off her headguard, flung it in the air and ran a victory lap of honour after clinching a 6-4 points win over one of the sport's most fearsome exponents.

Jones said: "It's amazing. The crowd has just been amazing. 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. To be the first British athlete to win an Olympic gold [in taekwondo] is just amazing."

After a scoreless first of the three minute rounds, Jones moved ahead, inflicting darting body and head shots but in the end profiting from the two penalty points that a rattled Hou had conceded.

Jade Jones may sound sound like an X-Factor wannabe but she is actually a diminutive pocket rocket who punches harder than most female boxers and kicks like a mule, attributes which have brought world championship junior and senior silver medals, a bronze in the European seniors and Britain's first gold in any sport in the Youth Olympics in Singapore. And now Olympic gold.

"What Jade has done this is just phenomenal," said Gary Hall, the GB national performance director. "She is one of these characters who is never satisfied and always wants more – she is absolutely driven to be the best."

Known as The Headhunter because of her high kicking in that direction, Jones started in taekwondo when she was eight, her grandfather taking her to a local gymnasium to "toughen me up and keep me off the streets".

"There wasn't a lot to do in my town and he wanted me to be able to defend myself," she said. "I started getting into a bit of trouble and was messing around. It was nothing too serious. I was just mischievous."

Taekwondo is one of the great success stories of British sport but has recently been immersed in controversy over the omission of world No 1 Aaron Cook from the men's squad. Last night Cook sat in the £20 seats cheering on his former team-mate.

Martin Stamper also had the chance to make this the biggest night in British taekwondo history when he reached the semi-finals of the under-68kg division but despite a battling effort was knocked out 9-6 by Turkish top seed Servet Tazegul.

The 25-year[-old Liverpudlian still had hopes of a bronze in the repechage but lost 5-3 in a tense encounter to Afghanistan's Rohullah Nikpai.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before