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Funding boost ahead of busy spell but Paralympic swimming star Jessica-Jane Applegate will still need support

PUBLISHED: 10:39 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 31 May 2017

Great Britain's Jessica Jane Applegate on her way to finishing second in the Women's 200m Freestyle - S14 final on the fourth day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Picture: PA

Great Britain's Jessica Jane Applegate on her way to finishing second in the Women's 200m Freestyle - S14 final on the fourth day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Picture: PA

PA Wire

An important step in the right direction has been secured by Paralympic swimming star Jessica-Jane Applegate.

Jessica-Jane Applegate, left, with her bronze medal alongside GB team-mate Bethany Firth with her gold, during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke S1at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the first day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pictured: Adam Davy/PA Wire.Jessica-Jane Applegate, left, with her bronze medal alongside GB team-mate Bethany Firth with her gold, during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke S1at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the first day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pictured: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Late last year the UEA City of Norwich Swimming Club member was told that her UK Sport funding was being cut, despite winning three medals at the Rio Paralympics in September.

That left the London 2012 gold medallist facing up to retirement at just 20 years old after being moved from the British Para-Swimming Podium programme to the Podium Potential programme, creating a £15,000 shortfall and making a bid to swim at Tokyo 2020 an uphill battle.

“The funding was cut dramatically in December and when we finally got the agreement they were only offering funding until April,” Applegate’s mum, Dawn, said. “But she went to the World Para-Swimming British internationals and swam very well for being out of season so is ranked fourth in the World Series.

“So at the moment we are not on the A or B level of funding but it has been extended at the base level until November.”

Great Britain's Jessica-Jane Applegate on the way to winning Bronze in the Women's 100m Backstroke S14 final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the first day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.Great Britain's Jessica-Jane Applegate on the way to winning Bronze in the Women's 100m Backstroke S14 final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the first day of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

For A level funding the former Ormiston Victory Academy pupil needed a gold medal and a personal best in Rio, or a silver or bronze and a PB for B level funds.

However, two silver medals and one bronze were not enough for Applegate, who has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, as she missed out on a PB by just five hundredths of a second – nine weeks after throat surgery and soon before needing to go under the knife again, for a prolapsed disc in her back.

Mrs Applegate continued: “She’s flying out to Berlin in early July and is out there for 11 days to compete in 11 individual events and should make eight finals – so will have about 19 races!

“That is also part of the World Series and then two weeks later are the British trials in Sheffield for the World Championships in Mexico in October.”

Applegate has also been boosted by the news that her coach, Alex Pinniger, will be part of the British coaching team in Berlin and also has Norwich-based not-for-profit enterprise agency Nwes planning a range of fund-raising events to help plug the £15,000 shortfall in her funding.

For details, go to nwes.org.uk, or the crowd-funding page at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/JessicaJaneApplegateMBE

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