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Martial Arts: Jade Jones of Flint makes shortlist for BBC Young Sports Personality Award after winning Welsh version

RISING star Jade Jones this week picked up one glittering sporting crown – and she could soon be in line for another.

The 17-year-old tae kwon-do ace from Flint has won the BBC Wales Carwyn James Junior Sportswoman of the Year award – and is now in the running for the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Jade has had an amazing year and she could cap it all if she is selected from a star-studded shortlist to be crowned Young Sports Personality of 2010 during the BBC’s live sports awards show at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena on Sunday, December 19.

Gary Hall, Jones’s coach and mentor, put her forward for the award, which is not open to a public vote, but Jade never expected to make the shortlist.

“I feel honoured to have been picked,” she said. “Gary told me he had nominated me but I thought nothing of it.

“Then the BBC phoned up and told me I had made the final 10.”

In Flintshire, Jones has made a big name for herself in recent times after taking up her sport aged just eight. But she is seen nationally as a late entrant into the running for Sports Personality with many unaware of the teenager’s achievements or potential.

Her year reached stellar proportions not long after she moved from Flint, where she trained at Saltney’s Matrix Club, to Manchester, where she now resides among GB’s other top tae kwon-do athletes, training in a purpose-built facility at Sport City in the shadow of Manchester City’s Eastlands Stadium.

She travelled to Singapore for the first ever Youth Olympic Games as one of a promising GB team and returned having gone down in history as the nation’s first ever gold medallist at the competition, beating Vietnamese fighter Than Thao Nguyen in a dramatic sudden-death play-off.

On her return she didn’t rest on her laurels, instead winning bronze on her senior competition debut at the European Tae kwon-do Championships and silver at the World Junior Championships.

On Monday she was presented with BBC Wales’ version of Junior Sports Personality, named after legendary Welsh rugby coach Carwyn James, with Commonwealth boxing silver medallist Sean McGoldrick taking the male award and Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur walking away with the Welsh Sports Personality of the Year prize.

“It’s a great honour to receive this award and to be in such illustrious company,” she said. “It means a lot to be recognised by BBC Wales and it caps off a great year for me and for the team.

“I hope that I can keep it going in 2011 with the World Championships coming up in May.”

But when it comes down to the big prize in Birmingham, she has some serious competition.

Previous award winners include Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Andy Murray and this year’s shortlist features diver and two-time winner Tom Daley, tennis ace Laura Robson and weightlifter Zoe Smith.

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