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Martial arts: ‘Superstar’ Jade Jones crowned BBC Cymru Sports Personality of the Year

OLYMPIC golden girl Jade Jones this week found out how much the people of Wales have truly taken her to their hearts when they named her BBC Cymru’s Sports Personality of the Year.

The 19-year-old tae-kwondo queen from Flint was picked ahead of a star-studded array of the Principality’s top sporting talent.

“It’s a great honour, I can't believe I have won,” said Jade after receiving the weighty old trophy in a ceremony held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and broadcast on BBC Radio Cymru.

Her stunning 6-4 victory in the Olympic final against Hou Yuzhuo in the -57kg category and her subsequent celebrations captured the attention of the nation.

So when BBC Cymru asked the public to vote for one of their shortlist of stars to get the award – a list which included Wales rugby union back row Dan Lydiate, footballer Gareth Bale and double Olympic gold medallists Tom James (rowing) and Geraint Thomas (cycling) – they voted in their droves for the girl nicknamed the Headhunter.

“There were so many great people I was up against and the fact the public got to vote, it’s such a great honour that people recognised what I have done,” said a beaming Jade.

She now joins a list of Welsh sporting greats. Past winners of the award include the likes of Ryan Giggs, Shane Williams, Colin Jackson, Ian Woosnam, Phil Bennett and Lynn Davies.

Her amazing London success was Great Britain’s first Olympic gold in the sport and she is Flintshire’s first ever individual Olympic gold medallist, a feat which led Flintshire County Council to rename the recently refurbished Flint Pavilion leisure centre the Jade Jones Pavilion in her honour.

The latest honour comes just two years after she won the Carwyn James Trophy for Young Sports Personality following her Youth Olympic gold medal.

Despite all this, though, after a summer of incredible sporting achievement for British athletes, she was not included on the shortlist for the BBC’s main Sports Personality of the Year award, the winner of which will be announced on Sunday.

She has earned another honour though, being selected to appear in a one-off revival of iconic 1970s TV show Superstars which will be shown by the BBC on Boxing Day.

The popular series pitted the best British sportspeople of the time against each other in sporting contests other than that in which they were successful.

One of the most famous incidents from the show was footballer Kevin Keegan hurting himself in a bicycle crash on a cinder track.

This special Christmas episode, filmed a couple of weeks ago at Bath University, will be hosted by Gabby Logan and as well as featuring Mo Farah and triathlon brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee in the men’s competition, will pit Jones – the youngest competitor – against a field including 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu and boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams.

“I am the youngest competitor on Superstars but I won’t let that faze me,” said Jade.

“We are all Olympians and we will all have different strengths so I think we are actually on quite a level playing field. I think it will be an interesting competition.”