Tokyo Olympics: Jade Jones 'trapped by fear' before first-round elimination

Tokyo Olympic Games on the BBC
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
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Two-time Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones said she put too much pressure on herself before her shock first-round defeat in Tokyo.

Jones was aiming to become the first British woman to win gold at three consecutive Games, but lost to Kimia Alizadeh of the Refugee Olympic Team.

Alizadeh later lost her semi-final against Tatiana Minina, ending Jones' hopes of a bronze via the repechage.

"Coming out I felt scared and too much pressure," Jones told BBC Sport.

"The whole tournament has been so different to what I'm used to. Usually I have my whole family there so when I am scared when I come out, them cheering gives me that extra push to go for it. I got trapped in that fear mode today.

"I don't want to make excuses because a champion adapts and I truly believe that it's my fault for not adapting, but it's been tough.

"I told myself my family wouldn't be there in the stadium, but I didn't realise what it would be like until I got here and it's sad.

"You come out and the stadium is empty, but the ring is gorgeous and could be perfect and I tried to imagine my family there and it almost felt like a test [event] coming out.

"But no excuses - I wasn't the best today and it's on my shoulders and I just have to go back and reflect. I feel a bit lost at the moment."

The 16-12 loss to Alizadeh is a hugely disappointing outcome for the 28-year-old Welsh athlete, who looked stunned when defeat was confirmed, having gone into the Games as one of Britain's favourites to secure a medal.

Alizadeh had beaten Jones twice before, including at the World Championships in 2015, but it looked as though Jones would live up to her status as favourite when she won the the first round 6-4.

But Alizadeh, 23, took the next two 6-2 6-4 to secure victory.

Kimia Alizadeh
It is the third time Kimia Alizadeh has beaten Jade Jones

Alizadeh made history when she competed in taekwondo at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Aged only 18, she beat Sweden's Nikita Glasnovic 5-1 in the bout for the bronze in the -57kg category. It made her the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal.

But in the wake of that success she felt Iran's authorities were using her as a propaganda tool and fled her home country in January 2020.

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