Jade Jones is one of GB's biggest hopefuls to medal at the London 2012 Games in her sport taekwondo. We catch up with her and talk health, fitness and pigging out!
19-year-old taekwondo sensation Jade Jones has had an amazing Junior career winning silver at the World Junior Champions in early 2010 followed by a bronze at the Youth Olympics qualification, only to go on and win Gold at the Youth Olympics final in Singapore, a feat that quite rightly earned her the title of BBC Wales Young Sports Personality of the Year.
Then in 2011, making her move into the senior ranks, she claimed gold at the US Open beating some well-known and respected martial artists along the way and then proceeded to collect a whole string of medals at the German Open, World Championships, French and British Open. Now looking on to 2012 Jade is being tipped as one of Britain’s best medal hopefuls at the London 2012 Olympics. Read on to find out what it was that got Jade into the sport, what she likes to do on a day off from her gruelling training regime and more.
How did you get into taekwondo?
I was actually about 8 years old when I first got into taekwondo and I was introduced to it by my grandad as a way of keeping me off the streets. I then just really enjoyed it so carried it on but had no idea I would be competing in the Olympics one day. It was only when I was about 15 that I actually realised that I wanted to do it as a career and try to take it as far as I could, which is basically gold at the Olympics.
Is that when you realised you were good at it?
Well my coach said I was a natural straight away since I was always flexible and quick and therefore able to land head shots that will now be worth 3 points at the Olympics. But then being selected to come to the GB training camp in Manchester at 17 was a sign that I was good enough for the Olympics and winning the Youth Olympic gold medal in 2010 was I suppose when I arrived on the international circuit properly.
What else do you do to stay in shape for taekwondo?
Well I train 4 to 5 hours a day, a few in the morning then 2 in the afternoon, and we lots of different types of training, obviously the kicking and fighting side but also weights, plyometrics, conditioning, cardio, and agility. Neil (Parsley, strength and conditioning coach at GB Taekwondo) will also have us do strength and endurance tests throughout the year to monitor how well we’re doing. They can range from running tests to press ups to planks but it’s all designed to give us a good mark of where we are throughout the year.
Do you enjoy any other sports or martial arts?
Yeh I love all sports and really love watching them, but unfortunately with my schedule I don’t really get a chance to play any other sports. Even when I do have some free time I’m so tired from training I usually just chill out with friends, watch some movies or if I have the energy maybe shop, I love to go shopping!
Why do you think more women should try taekwondo?
I do think it’s really important to be taught so you can defend yourself but also it’s a more fun way to keep fit than say running or cycling which some people can find gets a bit boring at times.
What do you like to do on a day off from training?
Anything that’s not too exhausting since I’m usually so tired from training. So I go to the cinema a lot or just catch up with friends and hang out.
What’s your favourite junk food?
I’m really bad and have such a sweet tooth, so when I pig out I’ll have so much ice cream, chocolate and sweets. Luckily though my nutritionist at GB Taekwondo does let me have the chocolate protein bars from Myprotein.com after training and they taste sooooo good, so I don’t feel as bad eating them.
Who do you look up to sporting-wise?
My sporting hero is my coach Paul Green, who most people won't know of but he is a true inspiration to me. He was an amazing fighter and had the potential to easy get gold at the Olympics, but he ruptured his groin beforehand and couldn’t fight properly. He’s also an amazing coach!
Jade Jones is fuelled by Myprotein.com, the UK’s number one online sports nutrition brand and supplier to many of Britain’s Olympians such as World 400m Champion Dai Greene, World 100m backstroke World Record Holder Gemma Spofforth and 11-time Paralympic gold medallist David Roberts.