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Feb 24 2011 by Alec Doyle, Flintshire Chronicle

THE world will not be allowed to forget about Jade Jones as the tough tae kwon-do star from Flint continues to lay waste to her international rivals.

The 17-year-old flew out to Texas to compete in the US Open for Team GB along with a clutch of other senior fighters.

And after surviving an opening round shock with a sudden death kick to the head to beat Senegal’s Bineta Diedhiou, on her way to landing a bronze medal in her usual 57kg weight category, Jones stepped up and won gold in the 62kg division, beating US athlete Paige McPherson in the final.

Her performances have put the world and her Team GB rivals on notice as the London Olympics loom and if she can maintain her form then Jade could be on-target to begin her Olympic journey sooner than anyone could have predicted when she took up the sport nine years ago.

“The main focus for me was to get experience on the LaJust scoring system for the World Championships in Korea in May,” said a focused Jones.

“I am really happy with my two medals.

“It was a tough tournament with lots of high quality fights so I am really chuffed with my performances.

“Now I’m looking to do the same in the German Open in two weeks time.”

But ‘chuffed’ undersells Jones’ performances. She became Britain’s first ever Youth Olympic gold medallist last year and won a myriad of awards and medals that shocked the world.

But she is not guaranteed her Olympic place. Britain only has places for four athletes, two men and two women each in a different weight category.

So Jones will have to continue to excel until the end of the year when the final selections are made, although a World Championship gold medal would make selecting the Flint prospect hard to resist.

GB Performance director Gary Hall said: “Jade continues to make a mark on the world stage.

“We’ve still got a lot of hard work to do in the coming weeks but this will give us confidence as we prepare for Korea.”

And should she earn selection Jones has been handed the perfect warm-up for the Olympics after Manchester – where the former Flint High School pupil is based with the GB tae kwon-do team – was selected to host the European Championships in 2012, just weeks before the Olympic Games.

http://www.flintshirechronicle.co.uk/flintshire-sport/other-sports/2011/02/24/martial-arts-olympic-qualifying-year-kicks-off-with-texas-gold-for-flint-tae-kwon-do-ace-jade-jones-51352-28221774/