Revved up and firing on all cylinders. Jones and Walkden ensure a nap hand of World Taekwondo Grand Prix medals for GB squad
21st October 2017
Jade Jones and Bianca Walkden helped Great Britain to their biggest ever medal haul from a single World Taekwondo Grand Prix with back-to-back golds at the Copper Box Arena, London tonight. (Saturday)
With a day and two competitors remaining the Manchester trained squad has five medals including girl power, golden wonders, Jones, Walkden and Lauren Williams.
Double Olympic champion Jones smashed South Korea’s reigning world title holder, Ah-Reum Lee 31-15 in the -57kg final.
Around 45 minutes later heavyweight Walkden dominated Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk 20-7 at +67kg.
The 26-year-old from Liverpool has now won her last five tournaments, including a World Championship and three successive Grand Prix accolades.
Revenge couldn’t have been sweeter for Jones. She lost to Lee in the semi-finals of the World Championships last June and then saw her Asian rival go on to claim a title she has still to win.
This time there was no mistake. Jones led 11-0 in the opening round before dropping her first points and continued to keep her opponent at long distance.
Leading 19-8 going into the last three minutes, Jones, 24, extended her advantage as Lee’s challenge faded.
“The way I am built I want to get gold all the time,” said the Flint star. “So, it is hard when you get silver and you are used to getting gold.
“When you get silver it’s like “Oh what’s happened to Jade? It is difficult but I came back with a vengeance.
“So, to win in London and beat the girl who knocked me out of the World Championship is sweet.
“I felt I was getting back to my normal self. I was confident as the rounds were going on.
“It felt amazing to feel like me again. Everytime, I came out to fight the crowd was just ridiculously noisy.
“Seeing my family and friends all willing me on made me think ‘I can’t lose.”
Jones guaranteed a medal by beating Canadian Skylar Park 28-15 in the quarters and then reached her second successive Grand Prix final with a 24-10 win over Russian Tatiana Kudashova.
Walkden’s path to the final was harder than she might have imagined. ”I had such a tough day mentally,” she admitted.
“I had a break down just before the final because I thought I wasn’t doing enough.
“But I had to dig in and give everything I have got. I didn’t want to be remembered for not trying. I wanted to die trying and it paid off.
“The GB girls have shown they are on fire and there is a lot more to come from all of us. You will see all three of us in Tokyo.”
In the semi-final, Walkden knocked out Mexico’s Briseida Acosta but only after the former World Championship silver medallist caught Walkden with a five-point reverse spinning head shot to bring the scores level at 9-all.
However, Walkden just about kept her composure despite suffering repeated foul trouble to edge through to her latest final, 13-11.
Earlier, Jade Slavin pushed Olympic champion, Shuyin Zheng to the wire in the same weight division before losing 10-7 in the closing stages.
Slavin had opened the tournament with a 21-12 over American Madelynn Gorman-Shire.
Britain’s hopes at -58kg suffered an early blow with London born Max Cater and Hassan Haider from Falkirk beaten in the first round.
Max Cater was knocked out 15-10 against Russian Stanislav Denisov while Sergio Suzuki from Japan defeated Hassan 21-13.
-80kg: Damon Sansum (Elgin)
-49kg: Taylor Goodall (Runcorn)