Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones takes break

Jade Jones
Jade Jones

Welsh Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones has decided to take a short break from taekwondo and will not compete again this year.

It means the 19-year-old will miss the British Championships at the Manchester Velodrome on 8-9 September.

But Jones insists the sport remains her priority and she will return to training ahead of the 2013 World Championships in Puebla, Mexico.

"I'm not going to do any more competitions this year," Jones said.

Jade Jones

"Then next year I've got two competitions before the World Championships in May.

"I'll always put taekwondo first and training first, so I'm just enjoying this. I'll get back to training and everything will be the same."

Jones is not sure when she will return.

"I'm just going to do a few media things and then, when I'm mentally hungry and mentally ready again, I'm going to go back," said the teenager. "There's no point training if you're not hungry for it."

She added: "I think the hardest bit as an athlete is staying on top. That's a challenge for me but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Jones became Britain's first Olympic taekwondo champion - and her country's youngest Olympic champion - by beating China's double world champion Yuzhuo Hou in the London 2012 final.

Jones had already beaten Serbia's Dragana Gladovic on her Olympic debut before overcoming Japan's Mayu Hamada in the quarter-finals and Chinese Taipei top seed Li-Cheng Tseng in the semi-finals.

Jones admits that whole experience will be hard to improve upon but is delighted that her efforts have raised the profile of taekwondo.

"Having 8,000 people watching you in the crowd and then everybody on telly... is it going to get any better than that? I don't think so, but I'll just have to find some way to still stay focused," she told BBC Wales' Sport Wales programme.

"After the profile it [taekwondo] got from the Olympics, hopefully there's even more media attention for our championships and our regular competitions.

"So many people have tweeted me saying they've started taekwondo and even the local clubs have been saying so many new faces are turning up, so it seems like that a lot of people are starting."

Jones is one of the athletes from London 2012 who has confirmed that she wants to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Watch Sport Wales on BBC Two Wales on Fridays at 19:00 BST. Each show will be available for seven days on BBC iPlayer after transmission.

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