By Daniel Etchells

Olympic champion Jade Jones has been crowned GB Taekwondo's Player of the Year for 2014 ©Getty ImagesOlympic champion and newly-crowned World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Grand Prix Series winner Jade Jones has been named GB Taekwondo's Player of the Year for 2014.

The accolade caps off a memorable 12 months for the 21-year-old Welsh star,
voted Female Player of the Year at the WTF's inaugural Gala Awards Dinner in Queretaro, Mexico, earlier this month.

Other contenders were European gold medallist Bianca Walkden, Commonwealth and French Open champions Mahama Cho and Damon Sansum, and Ruebyn Richards, a winner of the Luxor and Fujairah Open titles. 

"It's always nice to collect awards and this one is especially pleasing
because there were so many good candidates in the GB Academy set-up," said
Jones, currently ranked second in the world. 

The London 2012 Olympic gold medallist beat Spain's Eva Calvo Gomez in the under 57 kilogram category final at this month's World Grand Prix Series event in Queretaro. 

Jones' victory ended a hoodoo against her rival, who had beaten her in three of the previous four World Grand Prix Series event finals, including those in Astana and Manchester this year. 

"I have had my near misses this year but I have always trained hard and
knew the rewards would come eventually," said Jones. 

"So, I am happy with the progress I am making, especially with the Rio Olympics only 18 months away."

Jade Jones beat her rival Eva Calvo Gomez of Spain at this month's World Grand Prix Series finale in Queretaro ©WTFJade Jones beat her rival Eva Calvo Gomez of Spain at this month's World Grand Prix Series finale in Queretaro ©WTF

With nearly 30 full-time fighters training at the GB Academy in Manchester,
management and coaches have implemented inaugural Player of the Year awards
for juniors and cadets.

Liverpool's Abigail Stones and Christian McNeish from Plaistow took the
respective junior trophies.

The cadet honours went to Siena Limbu Lingden, a member of London's GB talent club, Gurumu Taekwondo, and Mason Yarrow from Doncaster's club, Ultimate Taekwondo. 

Stones, 16, a product of another GB talent club, Liverpool Taekwondo Academy, showed why she's tipped for the top.

The highlights of a brilliant year saw her become world junior champion and claim a
bronze medal at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Londoner McNeish came into WTF style taekwondo from a kick-boxing background but is already making great strides.

He claimed a senior Commonwealth title in Edinburgh in November and like Stones, returned from the Youth Olympics with a bronze medal.

Limbu Lingden, whose defining moment in 2014 was winning a silver medal at the first ever World Cadet Championships, was the youngest Player of the Year to be crowned.

Yorkshire starlet Yarrow, 13, won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships and silver at the British National Championships, and also achieved World Cadet selection, reaching the quarter-finals. 

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December 2014: Lee and Jones claim Player of the Year accolades at inaugural WTF Gala Awards Dinner
December 2014: Olympic champion wins first Grand Prix title to put three final defeats behind her
November 2014: Jones lands under 57kg crown at Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships
October 2014: Calvo Gomez continues domination as Jones suffers Manchester disappointment again
August 2014: Olympic champion Jones denied gold on final day of Taekwondo Grand Prix in Astana