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Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Welsh Taekwondo teen Jade Jones set for further success

Jade Jones
Jade Jones with her Paris Open 1st place trophy in December

Flintshire Taekwondo star Jade Jones is hoping to kick start the year with a winning performance following a successful 2009.

The 16-year-old will compete at this weekend's British National Championships in Manchester.

"Success this weekend is important if I'm to go to the Youth Olympics and the Junior World Championships," said Jones.

Jones has been earmarked as a rising martial arts star of the future.

"I'm feeling positive and really looking forward to it, I can't wait. I'm heading up there with a few people from my local club and my family is coming too.

"Because I compete all over the world they aren't always able to come and watch me."

A strong performance at the tournament is essential for selection for the bigger competitions of 2010.

Jones retained her Junior British title in the under-55kg category in September and went on to win gold in the Paris A Class International Open.

The martial art, which originates from South Korea, is practised by over 60 million people and is characterised by the use of powerful kicks. The word Taekwondo literally translates as "the way of the foot and the fist".

Jones took up the sport aged eight after encouragement from her grandfather who was keen for her to learn a form of self defence.

The Flintshire teen first initially competed in ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) competitions but switched to WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) style which is included in the Olympic Games.

Taekwondo made its debut as an official Olympic sport at the 2000 Sydney Games.

"I switched to WTF to fulfil my dreams of going to the Olympics. I've first got to get into the team but it is something that I'm thinking about and preparing for now."

As well as training in Wrexham and Manchester, Jade is also at sixth form studying physical education.

Following a string of successes, the Welsh youngster is expected to dominate in her classification in the UK as well as making her mark on the international stage.

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see also
What makes a top taekwondo player?
29 May 07 |  Taekwondo
Taekwondo scoring explained
23 Aug 08 |  Taekwondo
Sarah Stevenson's guide to taekwondo
11 Apr 08 |  Taekwondo

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