Jessica-Jane makes it a medal double at Tokyo Paralympics

Great Britain's Bethany Firth (right) celebrates winning gold with Jessica-Jane Applegate who won br

Jessica-Jane Applegate, left, celebrates her bronze with GB team-mate Bethany Firth, who took gold - Credit: PA

Jessica-Jane Applegate felt a well-timed day off was key to the second medal of her topsy-turvy Tokyo Paralympics.

The Gorleston swimmer took bronze in the 100m backstroke S14, touching the wall in a time of 1:07.93, which was her fastest in six years.

Applegate decided to take a mental reset ahead of the final race of her programme, a decision that seems to have paid off handsomely.

ParalympicsGB Swimmer, Jessica Applegate aged 24, from Great Yarmouth, with her bronze medal from th

Jessica-Jane Applegate with her bronze medal - Credit: PA

"This meet has been something else, full of highs and extreme lows," she said.

"I took a day off yesterday to try to pick myself up and get away from the pool a bit. I came back and decided to leave everything I had in the Tokyo pool.

"It was just a day to give my mental health a break, to be honest. It was getting a bit too much, so it was just a day off to have a walk around the village, chill out and spend some time talking with the other swimmers and talking about their experiences.

"We just discussed how well we've all done and how we're coping.

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"Sometimes it's nice for us all to talk openly about how we're feeling and it was really good to have that discussion. It's good that we can talk openly with each other about it."

For the second time in Tokyo, Applegate was able to share the Paralympic podium with team-mate and close friend Bethany Firth who won her third straight gold in the event.

Sandwiched between the pair was Russian Paralympic Committee's Valeriia Shabalina, who beat Firth to gold in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

On her swim itself, Applegate said: "I'm really happy. I decided to leave everything in the pool on my last race, the coaches said they'd rescue me if they needed it!

"I am tough on myself, I really wanted that silver to complete my set. But to come away with another individual bronze, I can't ask for much more after the preparations I've had."

This was Applegate's third Games but she has no plans to hang up the goggles any time soon.

"You haven't got rid of me yet," she said.

"I had throat surgery just before Rio and the lead-in here was crazy. I want to make sure I've done a full block of training and for one Games to have a smooth cycle."

In the S14 100m backstroke Jordan Catchpole, from Beccles, finished fourth.

Norwich wheelchair tennis star Alfie Hewett is doubling down on success with Gordon Reid after slipping out of the Tokyo singles competition in the semi-finals.

Hewett was beaten 4-6 6-7 (5-7) by Dutchman Tom Egberink on the day that reigning champion Reid also lost at the hands of Japan's Shingo Kunieda.

The pair have an immediate shot at redemption in Friday's doubles gold medal match, where they face Frenchmen Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer.

"I think if there's one thing that me and G have in common right now, is probably how we feel so we'll be absolutely buzzing to get out and win that doubles gold," said Hewitt.

"We'll have a lot in common right now. I felt for him - I know how hard he's worked and vice versa but we'll pick ourselves up and go again.

"A Paralympic medal is huge, I've got a shot at gold and bronze in the next couple of days and that's enough to make you refocus."

 Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/

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