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By Elizabeth Hudson
Multiple Paralympic swimming champion Jessica Long states adjustments to the game’s classification system have influenced her motivation.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) rules require all rivals to go through international classification before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Some athletes are moved to the S8 kind of the 27-year-old American, making her competition notably tougher.
“It breaks my heart, was an S8 my whole life,” Long told BBC Sport.
“The thing everyone has to realise is it impacts another generation and that is really sad.
“I’ve trained so so hard to be where I am at – that I train with Olympic athletes and when I’m trying hard to reach the top then there’s something wrong.”
Long, who was born in Siberia but embraced by an American family, had her legs amputated when she was 18-months-old as a consequence of a birth defect.
She made her Paralympic debut when she won three gold awards aged 12 in Athens in 2004.
She has since then been a dominant force in her category, getting one of the sport’s faces and winning names.
She has married and she is motivated by the fluctuations in the sport while she declares that this week’s Para-swimming World Championships haven’t been her focus.
“There are items out of my control and fuels my passion,” she confessed.
“But I want to concentrate on what I could control – it does not mean that I like it, and even with this, somehow I can hopefully still wind up on top”
The IPC say the changes will be the result of a request from member countries in following extensive testing and specialists and classifiers with input.
In a statement it said:”Throughout the whole procedure member countries are kept informed at regular stages of the progress made.
“When introducing these modifications and deadline in detail in 2017, the member countries provided positive feedback on World Para Swimming about the proposed changes and timeline for introduction.
“We acknowledge that such changes have had an effect on several athletes that have changed class or being found ineligible.
“More efforts will need to be produced by World Para Swimming and member nations to mitigate the effect such decisions have on an athlete’s well-being going forward and this has been subject to much discussion over the Paralympic movement.”
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