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GOLDEN GIRL JADE ENDS "PERFECT 2012 WITH MBE

Jade Jones has rounded off the best year of her life by adding an MBE in the New Year Honour's list to her Olympic Games gold medal.

 

The 19-year-old Welsh star is among a host of athletes receiving 'gongs' for their achievements during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

Jones became Britain's first ever Olympic taekwondo champion with victory over China's Yuzhuo Hou in the -57kg final.

 

The award of an MBE completes a remarkable six months for the Flint teenager also voted BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.

 

"I was quite shocked when I heard the news," said the Manchester based fighter who can be seen later today (Saturday) competing on BBC TV's Superstars programme.

 

"I certainly didn't expect it but it rounds off a perfect year.

 

"To have an MBE at 19 is just amazing. Maybe if I win another Olympics I can become a Dame," she laughed.

 

"I always hoped 2012 would be this good. But I never imagined how it would turn out.

 

"It has just kept getting better and better. Just when you think nothing else can happen, something comes along like this MBE."

 

Jones has now returned to full training at the GB Academy in Newton Heath.

 

But she admits it's been hard, especially juggling her new celebrity lifestyle.

 

"I haven't been as motivated as I used to be," she agreed.

 

"It's that hunger that made me win the Olympics so I need to get that back. 

 

"Next year though I expect it will come back, especially as I want to become world champion for the first time."

 

GB Performance Director Gary Hall saluted Jones's award.

 

"This is a great honour for Jade but also for the staff that have contributed to her success,"he said.

 

"And it is great for taekwondo to be recognised again.

 

"Sarah Stevenson won an MBE last year and hopefully there will be a few more recognised in the years to come."