Jade Jones’ bid for British history comes to abrupt end with opening-round loss

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Jade Jones’ bid to become the first British woman to win gold medals at three consecutive Olympics came to a disappointing end at the Makuhari Hall in Tokyo.

Jones was beaten in her first bout by Refugee Team athlete Kimia Alizadeh and must now wait to see if she will get a chance to target a bronze medal through the repechage.

Jones, 28, who had ended a long wait for her first world title in 2019, held a two-point lead after the opening round but could not sustain her advantage and eventually fell to a 16-12 defeat.

For an opening bout it was as tough as they come against Alizadeh, who became the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal when she took bronze in Rio behind Jones.

Alizadeh, also a two-time world medallist who beat Jones in the 2015 event in Russia, subsequently left her homeland to train in Germany, a decision which led to a period of inactivity that meant she was not seeded in the women’s -57kg category.

Coincidentally, Alizadeh had beaten Iran’s Nahid Kiyani in the opening round of the contest, for which top seed Jones had received a bye.

Kimia Alizadeh celebrates her victory over defending Olympic champion Jade Jones
Kimia Alizadeh celebrates her victory over defending Olympic champion Jade Jones (Mike Egerton/PA)

Two three-point head kicks had given Jones the advantage at the end of the opening round but the taller Alizadeh used her extra height to her advantage, scoring twice to the body to turn the contest in her favour at the end of the second.

Jones hauled level in the final round but a strong trunk kick from Alizadeh sent her four points clear with 20 seconds remaining, and when a subsequent appeal from Jones was denied by the jury, her fate was effectively sealed.

Jones was left to wait to discover if she will get a chance to compete for a bronze medal through the repechage. She will only be reprieved if Alizadeh goes on to reach the final.

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