By Hannah Blackwell
Jade Jones is well placed to bounce back from the “biggest low” of her career thanks to positive mental thinking.
The Welsh taekwondo star’s bid to become the first British woman to win gold medals at three consecutive Olympics suffered first-round heartbreak against Refugee team athlete, Kimia Alizadeh, at Tokyo 2020 last July.
Jones, the reigning world champion, hasn’t fought since but returns to action at the WT President’s Cup in Albania on Monday (February 21) describing herself as “super excited.”
The 28-year-old is part of a 12-strong squad that includes Tokyo medallists, Bianca Walkden as well as Jones’ fellow Welsh warrior, Lauren Williams.
“The way my career has gone, it’s been all highs and not many lows,” said Jones.
“In Tokyo, experiencing the biggest low for me makes you appreciate even more how important the mind is.
It’s YOU v YOU everyday, make sure sure the right you wins 💪 #mindset
— Jade Jones (@jadejonestkd) February 5, 2022
“It is super important to look after your mental health and it is something big I have been working on.
“It can be hard to be as motivated as the 17-year-old Jade. However, just constantly changing the goals and remembering why you are doing it helps me.”
“It is easy to be motivated when you lose; it’s hard when you stay winning constantly. So, giving yourself a target to strive for is good for me.”
Jones, whose last tournament success came at last year’s European Championships, added: “I have got a proper buzz and just can’t wait to get into the ring.
“It feels like forever since I have competed, so I can’t wait to get back into action.
“Training has gone well, and we had a good camp in Mexico with plenty of test matches and lots of sparring.”
-58kg: Jacob Fairhead (Farnham), Mo Nour (Roehampton)
-68kg: Leo Speight (Wakefield)
-87kg: Caden Cunningham (Huddersfield)
+87kg: Jonathan Bangura (Forest Gate)
-49kg: Catherine Makanjuola (Eltham), Maddison Moore (Blakedown), Mia Pachansky (Bromley)
-57kg: Jade Jones (Flint)
-67kg: Chloe Roberts (Stoke)
-73kg: Lauren Williams (Blackwood)
+73kg: Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)