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By Elizabeth Hudson
Multiple Paralympic swimming winner Jessica Long states her motivation has been influenced by modifications to the classification system of the sport.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) rules require all competitors to go through international classification before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Some athletes are moved into the S8 category of the 27-year-old American, which makes her competition.
“It breaks my heart, was an S8 my entire life,” Long told BBC Sport.
“The thing everyone has to realise is that it impacts another generation and that’s so sad.
“I have trained so hard to be where I am at – I train with Olympic athletes and when I am trying hard to get to the top then there is something wrong.”
Long, who had been 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 dated 12 in Athens in 2004.
She has since been a dominant force in her class, getting one of the sport’s faces and winning titles.
She gets married next month and she’s motivated by the fluctuations in the sport, while she admits this week’s Para-swimming World Championships have not been her main focus.
“There are things out of my control and fuels my fire,” she confessed.
“However, I want to focus on what I could control – it does not mean I enjoy it, and despite all this, somehow I can hopefully still end up on top”
The IPC state the changes will be the consequence of a petition from member nations in pros and classifiers and extensive testing.
In a statement it said:”During the whole process member countries have been kept informed at regular stages of the progress made.
“When introducing these changes and deadline in greater detail in 2017, the member states provided positive responses to World Para Swimming on the planned changes and deadline for introduction.
“We admit that these changes have had an effect on many athletes who have changed class or being discovered.
“More efforts have to be produced by World Para Swimming and member nations to mitigate the effect these 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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