Team GB have added another gold medal following a sensational win by Jade Jones in the women’s -57kg Taekwondo at a packed ExCel centre.
Jones, who becomes Britain’s first ever Taekwondo Olympic gold medalist, stormed her way to victory against China’s Hou Yuzhuo in the final.
Earlier, Martin Stamper had just missed out on a bronze medal in the men’s -68kg, losing to Rohullah Nikpai of Afghanistan.
Their performances illustrates the success that Taekwondo has achieved since 2008. UK Sport recognised the medal win potential within the sport following Beijing and thanks to the National Lottery, they were able to increase their funding to £4.8million for the London cycle (up from £2.7million for Beijing). This funding has been extremely important to ensure that GB Taekwondo were able to support their athletes and provide the best coaching systems.
As GB Taekwondo Performance Director Gary Hall says “The funding we receive has allowed GB Taekwondo to recruit a team of High Performance coaches and support staff which has become the envy of the Taekwondo world. In particular, it has aided the training and development of British coaches who themselves are seen a credit to the UK high performance sport system.”
The training and development of British Coaches has been supported by various UK Sport coaching initiatives including the Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme (ECAP). The two-year programme offers an accelerated development opportunity for emerging high performance coaches who are already working within the High Performance System, to enable them to become the elite coaches of the future. ECAP’s aim is to develop the skills of up and coming coaches working in High Performance, to help them to get the very best out of their athletes.
UK Sport and GB Taekwondo have also supported the development of Jade’s coach, Paul Green, through the Elite Coach programme which is a three year programme targeted at developing the very best coaches who could demonstrate the talent, dedication and determination to succeed and produce outstanding performances at the highest level. Paul had an illustrious career as an athlete in Taekwondo, competing for 12 years at elite level and is now a Senior High Performance Coach for Great Britain, based in Manchester looking after full-time athletes at the Elite Academy. Paul’s role is primarily focused on preparing and delivering elite performances at competitions technically, tactically, physically and mentally, as well as looking after all aspects of academy life including training plans, working with a multi-function team, decision making and teamwork.
With such tremendous support behind them, it’s no wonder that Jade and Martin were able to take to the mat and fight fantastically today.