Jade Jones is hoping to be a homecoming hero at the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester as she bids to secure vital Rio 2016 ranking points.
Jones leads the Great Britain challenge in the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix at Manchester Central from Friday October 24 to Sunday October 25.
Jade became Britain's first Olympic Taekwondo gold medallist with her stunning triumph in the -57 kg category in London in 2012 when team-mate Lutalo Muhammad won a bronze medal in the -80 kg weight division.
Jade, from Flint, North Wales, said: “At the halfway point between London and Rio, I’m in a really good place physically and mentally. There’s still a lot more to come from me and I’m confident looking ahead to Rio.
“I’m really looking forward to the Grand Prix in Manchester. I love performing in the UK and it means a lot to the whole GB team, particularly as we’re based here. It’s a great opportunity for sports fans to come and see us in action. All my friends and family come and watch me when I’m competing in the UK as well and I perform better when they’re there – I feel really motivated and fight harder in front of them.”
Team-mate Lutalo Muhammad, who was discovered by UK Sport’s Fighting Chance talent identification campaign, will be defending his title in Manchester. He said: "The Grand Prix has given us the perfect opportunity to perform against the world’s best in front of a home crowd. The brilliant atmosphere last year was without doubt the best I've experienced since the Olympics and I hope the venue will once again be packed to the rafters to help me defend my title.”
Meanwhile, Mahama Cho has collected medals in all three Grand Prix since the series started, having won gold in Manchester, silver in Kazakhstan and bronze in China.
Gary Hall, GB Taekwondo Performance Director, said: “Home support really spurred us on last year, leading to three British finalists and two winners. The Grand Prix presents a great opportunity to get up close and personal to elite level Taekwondo, to experience the speed, drama and excitement of a competition which has the added draw of valuable ranking points for Rio 2016 being up for grabs.”
The WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix forms part of UK Sport’s prestigious Gold Event Series aiming to bring up to 70 World Class Events to home soil by 2019 and tickets are now available from just £10 for Adults and £5 for Juniors (under 16s) from Ticketmaster.
Find out more information and see the full Grand Prix schedule on the Taekwondo GP website.