Jones taking nothing for granted ahead of World Championships

TGB 35
She might be unbeaten so far in 2015 but Olympic champion Jade Jones insists she is not taking anything for granted ahead of next week’s World Taekwondo Championships in Russia.

Jones has been in unstoppable form this year, winning sixth successive titles with the latest coming at the Dutch Open in March.

But complacency is not a word in the 22-year-old’s vocabulary with Jones working hard on all aspects of her game to ensure she has the moves for whatever the situation.

Back in 2011, she was denied World Championships gold on sudden death by China’s Yuzhou Huo while in 2013, a year after claiming the London 2012 57kg title, she missed out on a medal on a sudden-death golden point.

And while conscious that anything could happen on the day this time around at the Championships in Chelyabinsk – things kicking off in Russia on May 12 – Jones is adamant it can be third time lucky.

“It’s going to be amazing if I can win the World Championships. To be known as both world and Olympic champion would be just a dream come true,” she said.

“Even though I’ve been doing so well, I know how hard it’s going to be. There are so many good girls out there and even random floaters who are not on the scene yet but could surprise you.

“I’m just going to take each fight at a time, literally go for and put everything on the mat and then I can walk away happy no matter what.

“I’ve got a really good base and I’m good at what I’m good at. But it’s been about adding more weapons, so if I need them at the World Championships or somewhere else, then I have them and am able to pull something else out of the bag.

“I’ve got to constantly change my game because I’m constantly fighting the same girls and they will know exactly what I’m going to do if I didn’t mix things up. I like to always try and have a little surprise up my sleeve to try and trick them.”

Meanwhile, a World Taekwondo Championship medal is the only thing missing from Lutalo Muhammad’s CV, and the Londoner is adamant the time is now right to rectify that.

The 23-year-old won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics, gold at the European Championships in the same year and gold at last year’s Commonwealth Championships, leaving the Worlds as the only major medal missing from his haul.

But having already won the US Open and finished second at the Turkish Open this season, he looks primed to change that in Russia.

And with a stack of qualification points for next year’s Olympics in Rio also up for grabs, the need for success is doubly crucial.

“This year is critically important because the Olympics are next year,” explained Muhammad.

“So the selectors are going to base their Olympic selection on who’s really had the best year this year.

“I’m doing very well at the moment so I just need to keep it going. And the World Championships will really be the rubber stamp which can help assure me a place next year.

“I’ve had a great season so far, I’ve had success at the US Open and in Turkey so I’m riding a really positive wave right now.

“I’m feeling really good going into these World Championships, this is the only major event in which I haven’t medalled so I’m very hungry to go over there and get that gold.

“I’m in it to win it and I feel like I have a very good chance of doing that.”

The World Taekwondo Grand Prix – featuring the very best Olympic and World Champions from across the globe – is coming to Manchester on 16-18 October. Experience the excitement, drama and electrifying atmosphere of this explosive Olympic sport with tickets on sale 19 May at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wtgp

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