Jade Jones Powers To World Grand Prix Title
Olympic Champion claimed a new title in Queretaro, Mexico tonight and in doing so, buried a year-long hoodoo in beating world number 1, Eva Calvo Gomez. The new World Grand Prix champion convincingly beat the Spaniard, finally overturning a series of Grand Prix finals in which Gomez had come out on top.
Jones was on the offensive from the start and made great use of the video appeal, twice calling for head shots to be scored and calling it right both times. With a 7-0 cushion at the start of the third, it looked comfortable but the Spaniard didn’t let up and twice came close to scoring with reverse headshots. And whilst she did pull back to 7-3,
Jones covered well and finally claimed the title she has been chasing and valuable ranking points in the process.
“It’s amazing to have finally won the Grand Prix” said Jones. And to take the series Final as well. I’m buzzing.”
“Eva is a great opponent and we’ve had some great battles. I always find her awkward and difficult and it’s affected me in the past, more than it should have. But I’ve kept telling myself to relax, to enjoy myself more and to think of Rio as the main aim and that helped me today.
“I really took it to her today and I was so pleased with the Mexican crowd. They cheered so loud when I won both of my video appeals and that made me even more positive.
“It’s great to finish the year on such a high and I can’t wait to go home and celebrate with my family and friends.”
In her opening fight, Jones survived a late scare when the Swedish 7th seed, Nikita Glasnovic, landed a head shot that gave her a narrow lead. But Jones kept her composure to quickly level and then forced a winning point in the dying seconds.
The 21 year old from Flint looked more at ease in the semi-final where she gave a thoroughly professional display in beating Japan’s Mayu Hamada 5-2, pulling away in the third round.
She claims a maximum of 80 ranking points from the season ending Grand Prix final and is closing in on the world number one spot.
Mahama Cho can consider himself unlucky to have lost a spectacular quarter-final to Iranian, Sayyad Mardani.
The Londoner floored his opponent in the second round with a reverse that sent Mardani’s headguard spinning and it looked as if he was going to be counted out. But Mardani was allowed to continue and whilst Cho landed another head shot in the third with a superb chop kick, the Iranian hung on for victory.
“I absolutely gave it everything” said Cho. “Perhaps I made a couple of mistakes and I should have gone at him when he was down.
“I actually thought the referee should have stopped the fight when I caught him with the reverse. I’ve been working on that in training and it was spot on.
“Perhaps he got the benefit of the doubt but I don’t like using excuses. He’s a great opponent and credit where it’s due.
“It’s a shame I couldn’t medal today but it’s been a great year and I’ve got a lot to aim for in 2015.”
Lutalo Muhammad also bowed out at the quarter-final stage, going down 20-10 to the eventual silver medallist, Mehdi Khodabakhshi of Iran.
“I made some mistakes in the fight, at the start and end of the first round. At this level if you make mistakes, they are going to be costly and you can’t afford to be chasing matches.
“But I’ll bounce back and next year is a big one for me. I’m staying positive and there’s a long way to go before the Games.”
Quarter-final: Beat Nikita Glasnovic (SWE) 4-3
Semi-final: Beat Mayu Hamada (JPN) 5-2
Final: Beat Eva Calva Gomez (ESP) 7-3
Quarter-final: Lost to Sayyad Mardani (IRI) 11-13
Quarter-final: Lost to Khohdabakhshi (IRI) 10-20