High hopes for Jade with one of Britain's greatest Paralympians in her corner (From This is The West Country)
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High hopes for Jade with one of Britain's greatest Paralympians in her corner
3:40pm Tuesday 28th August 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
SHE may have the same name as someone that struck gold at the Olympics, but Jade Jones insists medals aren’t the focus at the Paralympics – even if she did hit the jackpot well before them.
Jones’ namesake became the first Briton ever to win taekwondo gold at an Olympics two weeks ago, but with those Games over attentions have now turned to the Paralympics.
At 16, wheelchair racer Jones is three years younger than the Olympic gold-medal winner but, mentored by one of Britain’s most decorated Paralympians ever, there are high hopes for her.
Jones has been preparing for the Games with the help of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic golds as well as four silvers and a bronze between Seoul 1988 and Athens 2004.
She’s also been using her ‘one in a million’ racing chair but Jones, who will compete in the 400m, 800m and 1500m at London 2012, is too smart to start predicting she will immediately follow suit.
“At first I didn’t think I would make it and it is my first Games so I am there for the experience and I don’t think there is a lot of pressure on me,” said Jones.
“I first met Tanni at a school sports day and I didn’t have a clue who she was. I was living as much of an ablebodied life as I could so hadn’t tried out wheelchair racing.
“I loved it straight away and I tried her chair and it’s technically perfect. If I was going to get a new chair made it would be exactly the same.
It’s a bit like a one in a million.
“She used the chair towards the end of her career and I remember being a bit nervous using it to start with, using the same chair she had enjoyed so much success in.
“It’s scary to think I will be at the Paralympics – it’s the Paralympics and everyone is a lot more experienced then I am – but I can’t wait.”
Jones, who set a new British 400m record of 55.91seconds at the US Paralympic Trials in July, has been taking measures to replicate what London 2012 might be like.
“My coaches actually recorded the atmosphere noise inside the stadium during a session at the Olympics to give me an idea,”
she said. “I’ve listened to it and it’s crazy. I’m not used to competing in front of so many people but I’m looking forward to it.”
- By Ryan Walters