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Jones shows her Commonwealth potential
7:19pm Tuesday 27th August 2013 in Sport
MIDDLESBROUGH wheelchair athlete Jade Jones believes her ever-growing portfolio of major final appearances will provide her with just the experience she needs to chase down her rivals at next summer's Commonwealth Games.
The 17-year-old showed her potential last year at London 2012 by making the T54 1500m final and backed that up at the 2013 IPC World Championships with appearances in the 400m, 800m, 1500m and 5000m finals.
Despite finishing last in each of her four finals in Lyon this summer Jones maintains a positive mindset, knowing she has many years in the sport to look forward to and find her niche.
But with Glasgow 2014 now moving to the forefront of everyone's mind, Jones insists her steady progression and ability to cope with pressure will help her become more competitive next year.
"This year has been mainly about progressing from last year," said Jones, who is a Home Nation ambassador for SSE - an official partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"I recorded some amazing times in 2012 so it wasn't about getting PB's this year, it was about staying at that level and being up there with the other girls.
"It's been a great year - I've raced in Switzerland and made four finals at the World Championships. I'm ready to move on to the Commonwealth Games and I'm ready to see what I can do next year.
"It was difficult at London 2012 - I went in with the 400m as my best event and it was also the first event and you don't really get crowds like we did in London so with 80,000 people I went into the stadium and completely froze.
"That ended up being my worst event rather than my best so there's a lot of things to take into consideration but it's really hard for me as I'm 17 and haven't specialized yet.
"I still do the 100m right up to the half marathon so it's hard to know what I'm going to be good at but the 1500m is definitely one of my favourites so I'm looking forward to doing that.
"With wheelchair racing we get to our peak in our thirties so I'm miles away and I'm still one of the underdogs right now but I am always gaining more experience."
Jones was unveiled on Wednesday as a Home Nation ambassador for energy company SSE who are an official partner of Glasgow 2014 and of the four home nation teams.
And the Prior Pursglove College pupil is hoping to lead by example and inspire the next generation of athletes to get involved in sport by making as many finals as possible.
"It is a big honour to be an ambassador and to be recognised for what I do and just to know I can help other people that are up and coming is brilliant," added Jones, who will be joined as an SSE ambassador by Katarina Johnson-Thompson (ENG), Becky James (WAL), Eilidh Child (SCOT) and Michael Conlan (NI), plus from 2014's Para-Sport programme Libby Clegg (SCOT), Sally Brown (NI) and Aled Davies (WAL) will also join the list.
"After London it's been amazing to get more people into sport and it's been great to showcase it and the Commonwealth Games are going to really help with that.
"I remember at London and the crowd drags you along and it pushes you to do your best when you've got friends, family and the whole country watching you.
"It's tough to say [what I can achieve] as it's so far away but my training has been going really well so hopefully it will carry on that way for the next 12 months.
"Finals will be the first aim and we'll see where we can go from there but there's going to be a lot of competition."
As a proud partner of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games SSE are encouraging the public to get behind their home nation, and in doing so winning rewards such as tickets, merchandise and money can't buy experiences during next year's event. Follow @YourSSE to keep up to date with the latest information