Rio 2016: Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones proud to inspire others

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Rio Countdown: 'Kicking superstar' Jones wins gold in London

Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones says she is proud to be a role model and inspiring girls to take up sport.

Jones won gold four years ago and will defend her title in the -57kg weight category at Rio 2016.

The 23-year-old says she was inspired to achieve success as a youngster growing up in north Wales.

"I remember watching people like Kelly Holmes on the TV and that's what inspired me to want to go and get a gold medal," she said.

"To think I'm one of those role models now and people are looking up to me is lovely.

"I've seen the difference from London how many girls have got into taekwondo because they've watched it on the TV."

Kelly Holmes of Great Britain celebrates after winning gold at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games
Dame Kelly Holmes won two gold medals at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games

Jones took up taekwondo when she was 15-years-old, encouraged by grandfather Martin as it would "keep her off the streets."

"When I first started taekwondo I think there was only about four or five girls in the whole club," Jones added.

"Now there's loads more girls and it's just amazing to see that. Sport doesn't have to be just for boys - girls are good at it too."

The -57kg world number one has won a World Grand Prix and two European titles since her success at London 2012.

Jones became Britain's first Olympic taekwondo champion by beating China's double world champion Yuzhuo Hou in the final.

She became her country's youngest Olympic champion only two years after winning gold at the 2010 inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore.

Flint-bred Jones admits her motivation has been "up and down" over the last four years but is focused on winning another gold.

"For London I only came into the national team in 2010, literally two years before the Olympics and no one really expected me to even go to the Olympics," Jones told BBC Wales Sport.

"I did really well that year and took the opportunity by the hands. I just went for it and it paid off.

"This time I've been training four years for this Olympics and ever since London my sights have been straight on the Olympics.

"For me the pinnacle and my goal has been the Olympics."

Wales: Olympic Dreams - Friday, 5 August at 19:30 BST on BBC One Wales

Inspired to take up martial arts? Find out how with Get Inspired's handy guide.

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