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Result: Jade Jones finally crowned world champion in Manchester

Result: Jade Jones finally crowned world champion in Manchester
© Reuters
The double Olympic gold medallist beat defending champion Lee Ah-reum.

Jade Jones finally added an elusive first world taekwondo title to her double Olympic gold with a 14-7 win over defending champion Lee Ah-reum in Manchester.

Jones, who had been defeated by Lee at the semi-final stage in Muju two years ago, defied a final-round fightback to claim a victory which underlines her status as one of the sport's all-time greats.

Jones told Press Association Sport: "There were times I doubted if I could ever do it and I can finally go to sleep at night knowing I am not going to finish my career without winning that world title.

Jade Jones
Jade Jones controlled her world final against Lee Ah-reum (Martin Rickett/PA)

"This is only going to increase my motivation to go on and make it three Olympic titles in a row. The pressure is off me now and I am hungrier than ever to go to Tokyo and win gold again."

The 26-year-old may have been forgiven for wondering if the world title would be the major title to elude her after a series of near-misses stretching back to her first World Championship in 2011.

Jade Jones
Jade Jones celebrated her first world title triumph (Martin Rickett/PA)

But having scraped through to the final in less-than-convincing circumstances on Friday night, Jones made no mistake against her rival and controlled their contest from the start before celebrating in front of her ecstatic home fans.

Jones' victory erased the memories of those previous heartbreaks, starting in 2011 when, at the age of barely 18, she had to settle for a silver medal after losing a sudden-death final round to China's Hou Yuzhuo.

Jones fell short at the quarter-final stage in 2013 and two years later also went out in the last eight after a controversial loss to Iran's Kimia Alizadeh, when she was hindered by a crash in the electronic scoring system.

By 2017 Jones had a second consecutive Olympic title in the bag but continued to struggle on the world stage, where she had to settle for bronze after her 14-8 loss to Lee in Muju.

Two years later Jones was intent on making up for her previous disappointments with victory on home soil, and no doubt suitably inspired by her friend and flat-mate Bianca Walkden's third triumph on Friday night.

If the manner of Walkden's win had been highly controversial, her accomplishment in becoming the first Briton to win three world titles was not lost on Jones, who craved a share of her world gold medal moment.

Jade Jones
Victory for Jade Jones makes her one of the most decorated athletes in her sport (Martin Rickett/PA)

She controlled her contest against her former nemesis from the opening moments, when a two-point body kick gave her a lead which she was ultimately never to relinquish.

Jones' gold was Great Britain's third of the championships and the fourth medal in total after Huddersfield 16-year-old Aaliyah Powell won a surprise bronze in the women's -53kg division.

Powell's remarkable run was ended emphatically, 38-5 in her semi-final against Russia's Tatiana Kudashova, but it was nevertheless a hugely promising performance from an athlete who is still sitting her GCSEs.

Powell told Press Association Sport: "It's been really difficult studying and training this year but I wasn't going to let my GCSEs stand in the way of an opportunity like this."

Aaliyah Powell
Aaliyah Powell won a surprise world bronze medal (Martin Rickett/PA)

Earlier, Great Britain performance director Gary Hall had accused Chinese taekwondo athlete Zheng Shuyin of "disrespect" over the histrionics which followed her controversial defeat to Walkden in Friday night's world final.

Zheng dropped to her knees both in the ring and on the podium after losing the women's +73kg final by disqualification despite holding a 10-point lead midway through the final round.

Chinese head coach Guan Jianmin told state news agency Xinhua the result was "a scandal" and "very dirty", adding: "I have been doing this sport for 16 years but this is the first time I realised taekwondo can be played like this."

World Taekwondo Championships – Day Three – Manchester Arena
Bianca Walkden won gold after her opponent was disqualified (Martin Rickett/PA)

Under the sport's rules, a player who amasses 10 gamjons, or penalties, during a match is automatically thrown out. Facing defeat and with Zheng having already reached seven penalty counts, Walkden adopted legitimate tactics to force further errors.

Hall told Press Association Sport: "They (the Chinese) have no right to be offended – in fact Britain should be more offended for the disrespectful manner in which the Chinese athlete took her medal.

"Bianca won that match fair and square. The rules state that you have to fight until the very end and Bianca did so using right and proper rules."

Meanwhile, Olympic silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad has been forced to withdraw from the event due to injury. Muhammad had been due to contest the men's -87kg division on Sunday.

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Lutalo Muhammad in action in 2016
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