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Jade Jones gets ready for 3rd Olympic gold with Walkden and Aaron Cook

Jade Jones gets ready for 3rd Olympic gold with Walkden and Aaron Cook

Double Olympic champion has been training with Bianca Walkden and Aaron Cook during the COVID-19 lockdown

Britain’s double Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones insists her training has not taken a setback despite having to adjust to the new measures in light of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks in part to her lockdown arrangements of living with fellow title winners of the sport.

Jones, the reigning world champion, was among Britain’s first Olympians to resume training last month at GB Taekwondo’s Manchester base after elite combat and team sports were given permission to resume training for the first time since March.

Before lockdown the Welsh fighter was already ramping up the intensity of her training regime by stepping onto the mat against her male counterparts from the senior British team.

With new restrictions in place – which has limited athletes to sparring only with those from their own household – Jones is having to adapt her training. Thanks to her own lockdown living arrangements with fellow British three-time world champion Bianca Walkden and Walkden’s boyfriend Aaron Cook, a three-time European champion, her training has not plateaued.

“I’ve been training with Bianca’s boyfriend, Aaron who’s been living with us,” revealed Jones. “He’s like 87kg and I’ve been sparring with him, so sometimes I’ll get him in the head and get the better of him. So I’m still getting that push, but I am looking forward to getting that training back with the boys.

“It’s still a bit weird. We have to walk through the door and the performance director has a mask on and has to take our temperature and do all these checks before he can let us in.

“We have specific training slots and we can only train in that time, so you don’t get to see many people, just your group. There’s a table with loads of disinfectant and every time you finish your session you have to go around spraying all the equipment that you’ve used. The coach has to be socially distanced in mask and gloves, but we’re just glad to be back and slowly moving forward with it all.”

Jones is bidding to write her name into the history books at next year’s Games when she could become the first athlete in her sport to claim three Olympic golds. The 27-year-old belongs to a special tribe of British sportswomen, alongside equestrian rider Charlotte Dujardin and track cyclist Laura Kenny, who are also hoping to complete a trio of Olympic titles.

“If anything, it’s [the postponement] made me even hungrier,” said Jones, who has already qualified for the Games and could return to competition at a Grand Prix in November.

“Just realising how special it is to get to even go to the Olympics and a chance to create history. The Olympics could have been cancelled, so the fact that it’s just been postponed makes me feel really lucky. I’ve still got that chance to do it really and it’s fueled the fire.

“I’m seeing it as a bit of a blessing really, because we have more time to train and more time to prepare, and to make sure I’m even more ready than I was before.”

Source: Telegraph (Fiona Thomas)

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