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Jones and Cunningham secure successful Italian job!

9th June 2023

Image courtesy of World Taekwondo.

Double Olympic champion Jade Jones made a stunning return to form at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Rome tonight. (Friday)

And it proved an opening day of double delight for the GB Taekwondo squad in the Italian capital as Caden Cunningham also secured a gold medal.

Both fighters lost in the quarter-finals at the recent World Championship in Azerbaijan.

But Welsh star Jones and Huddersfield heavyweight Cunningham shrugged off any lingering disappointment to claim their respective titles at 57kg and +80kg.

Jones, hoping to regain her Olympic crown in Paris next year, defeated Iran’s recently crowned -53kg world champion, Nahid Kiyanichan 2-0 in the final.

The ‘Headhunter’ qualified for her latest Grand Prix final with a similar 2-0 semi-final score line against American Faith Dillon. In fact, Jones cruised through the competition without dropping a round.

Image courtesy of World Taekwondo.

Cunningham, who celebrated his 20th birthday last month, enjoyed the best tournament of his career, culminating in his final victory over Nikita Rafalovich of Uzbekistan, taking the opening two rounds, 8-4 and 14-8.

He reached his maiden GP final with a barnstorming victory against Zhaoxiang Song-a bronze medallist at the previous two World Championships, in the penultimate round.

Cunningham trailed after the opening round but recovered superbly to shade the final two rounds in dramatic fashion, including the decider 10-9.

GBT’s only disappointment was the last 16 exit of Bradly Sinden. A week after climbing on top of the World Championship podium, the Yorkshireman lost 2-1 to Greek Konstantinos Chamalidis after a landslide 13-0 opening round success.

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