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  1. ITV Report

Paralympic hero fears she may have to quit her sport after seeing her funding reduced

A four-time Paralympic medallist from Great Yarmouth says she may have to quit her sport at the age of just 20.

Great Yarmouth swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate, who has autism, is facing the very real prospect of walking away from the pool after her funding was reduced by British Swimming.

Although she says she has no complaints about the decision, she admits it may now be hard to carry on without it.

Jessica works hard in the gym most mornings. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I'm just sad because my mum has put everything into this," she told ITV News Anglia.

"She's put all her money in, and it costs us at least £26,000 a year. To be only offered £11,000 means we won't be able to do it anymore."

Applegate used to be on the 'Podium programme', meaning she was entitled to the maximum amount of funding.

Jessica still won two silvers and a bronze in Rio. Credit: PA

However, British Swimming rules clearly state that you must either achieve a personal best or win a gold medal at the Paralympics to remain there.

British Para-Swimming has been working through a robust performance review programme with coaches and athletes to decide who meets the UK Sport programme criteria and will receive direct support through the World Class Performance Programme.

Over the next 12 to 24 months the sport will target support to the World Class Podium Potential athletes giving them more opportunities than ever before to help them to move up the pathway.

– British Swimming spokesperson

Applegate did go on to win two silvers and a bronze in Rio, despite having career-saving surgery on a collapsed throat just nine weeks before the games.

However, with only 13 places allocated for the top bracket of financial aid she's now been moved to another programme - resulting in a loss of £10,000.

A crowdfunding page has now been set up. Credit: Just Giving

A crowdfunding page has now been set up to try and get her the £15,000 needed to continue her career, something she says she's extremely grateful for.

"The local community have been really good," she said.

"Gorleston FC have been in touch and say they want to do a little match and treat me like a VIP which is great.

"It's just amazing to have such great support in Norfolk."