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OCTOBER 19 - 21 2018

MANCHESTER REGIONAL ARENA

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Double Olympic Champion Jade Jones Completes Her Italian Job

Jade Jones claimed GB Taekwondo’s first gold medal of the World Taekwondo World Grand Prix in Rome while double world champion, Bianca Walkden, also finished on the podium.

The twice Olympic champion from Wales defeated Spaniard, Marta Calvo Gomez, younger sister of one-time nemesis, Eva Calvo Gomez, 14-12 in the -57kg final.

Liverpudlian heavyweight Walkden just missed a place in the +67kg final, beaten 15-13 by Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk.

“I have started enjoying myself again,” said 25-year-old Jones who knocked out Russian Tatiana Kudashova 21-16 in the semi-final.

“You go through phases when you are expected to win and you get a little scared of losing.

“Now, I am thriving off it again and it showed,” added Jones who is relishing tackling another member of the Calvo Gomez clan.

“I remember the first time I fought her (Marta) my mum said:’ Heck, not another Gomez sister.

“But it’s great to have that rivalry and she is good fighter. It was a good battle because she came at me.

“And when you win with such fine margins it makes it so much better.”

The outdoor Foro Italico arena has been well received by the athletes including Jones.

“I don’t get overwhelmed by much,” she said. “But I was in awe of it.

“It was amazing, quirky and felt like going back in time to the Gladiators.

“The stadium was roaring and shouting for me. It was an incredible experience.

“I remember seeing the medal and thinking “I want that medal and I want that gold.”

For Walkden, it was an unwanted case of déjà vu after losing to Kowalczuk in last month’s European Championship final-a defeat that ended her nine-tournament winning streak.

“I was a bit unlucky towards the end,” she said of their Grand Prix semi-final re-match.

“I thought a few head shots should have scored but that’s taekwondo.

“In the Europeans, I wasn’t myself and I didn’t get up for the fight.

“This one I came out regardless of the outcome I wanted to come out and die trying.

“This isn’t going to knock me down. The main goal is to become Olympic and World champion.

“They have beat me now, but it has only made it worse inside. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box because I will come out and die trying to the end.

“If this has to be the road for now I will take it on the chin and keep going.”

Wigan’s 2015 World Championship bronze medallist, Rachelle Booth, went out 18-9 in the quarter-finals of the -57kg division to Skylar Park of Canada.

And at -58kg, Scotland’s Haider Hassan lost 9-4 against Russia’s Mikhail Artamonov.

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