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By Elizabeth Hudson
Multiple Paralympic swimming champion Jessica Long states adjustments to the classification system of the sport have affected her motivation.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) rules require all competitors to go through global classification prior to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Some athletes have been moved into the 27-year-old American kind, making her competition notably more demanding.
“It breaks my heart, having been an S8 my whole life,” Long told BBC Sport.
“The thing everybody has to realise is it impacts the next generation and that is really sad.
“I have trained so so hard to be where I am at – that I train with Olympic athletes and when I am fighting to get to the top then there’s something wrong.”
Long, who had been born in Siberia but embraced by an American family, had her legs amputated when she had been 18-months-old as a result of a birth defect.
She left her Paralympic debut dated 12 in Athens when she won three gold medals.
She has since then been a force inside her category, winning a number of names and becoming one of this sport’s faces.
She gets married and the changes in the game motivate her while she admits this week’s Para-swimming World Championships haven’t been her main focus.
“There are items outside of my control and that fuels my passion,” she confessed.
“However, I want to concentrate on what I could control – it doesn’t mean that I enjoy it, and despite thisI can hopefully still end up on top.”
The IPC state the changes will be the consequence of a request from member nations from pros and classifiers and following extensive testing with input.
In a statement it said:”During the whole process member countries are kept informed at regular stages of the progress made.
“When introducing these changes and deadline in detail in 2017, the member states provided positive feedback to World Para Swimming about the proposed changes and deadline for introduction.
“We admit that such changes have had an influence on several athletes that have changed class or being discovered.
“More efforts have to be made by World Para Swimming and member nations to mitigate the impact such decisions have on an athlete’s well-being moving forward and this was subject to much debate within the Paralympic movement”
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