Martial arts: Flint gold medallist Jade Jones admits relief after tae kwon-do is spared Olympic axe for 2020

Jade Jones

JADE Jones has said she would have been ‘devastated’ if tae kwon-do had been axed from the Olympic Games.

The 19-year-old from Flint became Britain’s first ever gold medallist in the Korean martial art at the London 2012 Games, but this week the IOC considered whether to remove the sport from the Olympic programme for 2020.

Such a move would have devastated the sport and the legacy of Jones’ achievement, but it was spared the chop, with wrestling instead being selected.

“I would have been devastated if tae kwon-do had been cut from the Olympics,” said Jones, who was made an MBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List. “It is the biggest prize in our sport and it is a massive relief that it has stayed in.

“A lot of people didn’t even realise it was under threat.

“I hope to still be competing in 2020 and perhaps I could now go for a hat trick of golds, we’ll have to see how things go with Rio in 2016 first.

“But a lot of people have taken up tae kwon-do because it is an Olympic sport or because they saw what we achieved there. For those people it would have been just as devastating a blow.”

The IOC met to review the London 2012 Olympics in Lausanne on Tuesday and discuss which sport would be taken off the Olympic programme for 2020 to make space for either golf or rugby sevens.

Tae kwon-do was among the most at-risk sports, along with modern pentathlon and table tennis.

But the IOC programme commission, having looked at factors such as TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping and global popularity, recommended that wrestling – one of the few sports dating back to the ancient games and an event that has been an Olympic sport since Baron De Coubertin revived the modern games 117 years ago – be removed.

IOC communications director Mark Adams told a news conference in Lausanne: “The executive board recommended that wrestling not be included on the list of 25 core sports and it now joins shortlisted sports vying for inclusion on the 2020 Olympics programme as an additional sport.”

“This is not what’s wrong with wrestling, it’s what’s right about the other 25 core sports.”