Ebonie set to join city’s sporting greats

Ebonie Jones. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Ebonie Jones. Picture: Paul Jacobs

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Today in Italy, a bright new star from Portsmouth will continue her quest for Euro glory.

No matter what happens in Assisi, the city unquestionably has a new talent to be immensely proud of.

And it is looking increasingly certain Heart of Portsmouth’s Ebonie Jones is on an inexorable charge to join the top-line sporting greats who have gone on to achieve great things under the star and crescent.

When I started out at the The News in 2001, it was my duty to cover the development of our stars in a glorious period for the area.

The ascent of swimmer Katy Sexton to World Championship glory was a special sight to behold.

But her glorious success in Barcelona in 2003 was matched by athlete Michael East’s victory at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester the previous year.

And then there was boxer Tony Oakey storming to WBU and then multi-belt success on the back of some of the best bouts Britain has seen in recent years.

All of their tales quite rightly captivated the area and dominated the news agenda, as they hit the front page.

Portsmouth was immensely proud of their success stories coming out of Copnor, North End and Leigh Park – all at the same time.

That period just also happened to be the time our football club was awaking from its slumber and rising to the Premier League.

In my naïvety, I believed reporting on such an embarrassment of sporting riches was the norm. How wrong I was.

There have been many sporting success stories for Portsmouth and its surrounding communities to be proud of in the wake of that period.

But nothing quite matched the breadth and depth of those glories 12 years ago. Now, though, there is a young lady from Cosham who has the talent, drive and potential to reach the same heights.

At the age of 16, Jones has already achieved great things in the world of amateur boxing. The Heart of Portsmouth starlet’s list of honours is above and beyond what most people in the sport could ever dream of.

Three national titles, a Golden Girls’ championship success and gold at the Nations’ Cup in Serbia are already on her CV.

Then came the EU Championship victory and small matter of a bronze medal at the World Championships in Bulgaria last year.

No wonder her development saw her recognised as The News Sports Award’s young sportswoman of the year for 2013.

Now, though, the EUBC Women’s Youth & Junior European Championship title is in her sights.

Jones will have it all to do to overcome host-nation boxer Lucy Garofalo at 50kg today.

The Charter Academy student will take all of that in her stride, though, as she always does.

Jones is a teenager who has just finished her GCSEs, yet she carries the quiet confidence of a girl who knows what she is capable of achieving.

That has been recognised by the amateur boxing bosses with Great Britain quick to place her in their emerging talent group.

A spot on GB’s podium squad alongside the likes of Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams is what Jones really thirsts.

The fact she regularly trains with her and the likes of female amateur stars Savannah Marshall and Natasha Jonas, proves that is no pipedream.

Jones covets her own ambitions of Olympic glory moving forward and is well on the path to making that dream a reality.

First, though, are the Europeans for a girl, like those sporting greats before her, who’s Pompey to the core.

Success there would underline her place as our city’s brightest emerging talent.