Jade Jones targets world gold after using altitude tent

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
GB Taekwondo fighters train and sleep in an altitude tent

Olympic champion Jade Jones hopes sleeping in an altitude tent will aid her quest to win a first world title.

Briton Jones, 20, beat China's Yuzhuo Hou in the Olympic final last year, but lost to the same opponent at the 2011 Worlds, claiming silver.

This year's World Championships in Puebla, Mexico, which begin on Monday, will take place 2,200m above sea level.

"At first being in the tents was horrible, but I hope they can give me the edge," Jones told BBC Sport.

"We've had them on our beds and getting the worst night's sleep to begin with; then, the first time I went into one in training I got all dizzy and my coach started to panic because it's hard to get your breath."

While several nations flew to Mexico weeks ahead of the competition in order to acclimatise, Jones and her team-mates remained at their Manchester base until earlier this month.

GB Taekwondo wanted its athletes to enjoy home comforts for as long as possible, while the sleeping and training tents prepared them for the conditions they will face in South America.

"We had the Koreans over for training recently and they were all struggling while we were still going, so it shows it's working and I do feel much fitter now," stated Jones.

The Flint fighter took six months out from the sport to enjoy the opportunities which came her way after Olympic success, but then lost her comeback fight in February.

Jones secures Olympic taekwondo gold

"My head was a little all over the place but it reminded me how much I don't like losing - so it was a good kick up the backside and what I needed to find my motivation again," said the 2010 Youth Olympic champion.

"Every time I fight now it's harder because everyone wants to beat the Olympic champion, so I do feel the pressure, but I've just got to get to another level now and be one step ahead of my opponents."

Another looking to back up success in London is Olympic bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad.

The man who was selected ahead of Aaron Cook in the -80kg division last summer will return to the -87kg category in which he claimed European gold in May 2012.

It means the eagerly anticipated battle between Muhammad and Cook will not take place in Mexico.

"The selection panel chose me for 87kg and I'm happy it's the right place for me," Muhammad told BBC Sport.

"If they'd have gone for 80kg, I would also have been happy and I could definitely go back in the future, but the Worlds is all about getting that gold medal and that's all I'm focused on right now."

Cook has opted to represent the Isle of Man in Mexico and 2011 world champion Sarah Stevenson recently retired from the sport, but the British team is still packed with medal prospects.

Martin Stamper, who won bronze in 2011, is keen to banish memories of his Olympic medal-match defeat, while reigning World silver medallist Michael Harvey is considered a strong prospect for success.

There is also Bianca Walkden, who missed out on Olympic selection last year but has since won five titles from her six competitions.

"I've done all right," said Walkden. "Hopefully I can go to the Worlds and win a gold there, I would give all of the other medals back just to do well in Mexico."

The British team won a record four medals at 2011 Worlds in Gyeongju, South Korea, but UK Sport has set a target of between one and three podium finishesexternal-link this time around, which is in line with the £6.9m funding award they will receive for the Rio Olympic cycle.