Jade Jones: No pressure to emulate mentor Tanni Grey-Thompson at Rio 2016

Jade Jones
Jade Jones reached the T54 class final at the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Wheelchair racer Jade Jones says the guidance of mentor Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson - an 11-time Paralympics medallist - provides inspiration rather than added pressure to perform.

Jones won T54 Commonwealth Games bronze in 2014 with help from Grey-Thompson and her husband Ian, who is her coach.

The 20-year-old now hopes to be selected for her second Paralympics, having competed at London 2012.

"Tanni has got so much experience which she can pass on," Jones told BBC Tees.

"People might think there's a lot of pressure on me to do what Tanni did, but if I could get a tiny bit of the success that Tanni has had then I'd be happy.

"Ian is probably one of the best coaches in the world so I'm very lucky to have that support system. I've got them there day in, day out.

"I think they [Tanni and Ian] have probably got their expectations, but I think they keep that to themselves until after the games."

Jones' coach added: "I hope there isn't much pressure because she's with us. [Jones] is driven from within. Most of the drive is actually coming from her."

The race for Rio

Having reached the final in the T54 classification four years ago, Jones has continued to produce competitive times and given herself a chance of a place on the team.

"Hopefully I've done enough," she said. "My performances have been good this year, I've been sitting in the top five."

If she does make it to Rio, the chance to compare the experience of four years ago and visit a new country is an appetising one.

"I'm excited, it's a new place. I've not been there before - I do like the climate," she added.

"It's going to be good fun. I'm excited to see if they can pull off the Paralympics the way London did."


The Middlesbrough athlete juggles her training with law studies at Teesside University, something both Grey-Thompson and her coach encourage.

"We're quite conscious of saying to her that [racing] always got to be what she wants to do," said Grey-Thompson.

"If at any point she says to us that this isn't the most important thing in her life, we'll support her to do whatever she wants to do next.

"It's really important that the education goes alongside because wherever her career goes, she needs to do something afterwards."

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