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Paralympic star Kadeena Cox defends appearing in The Jump


Kadeena Cox celebrates with a gold medal in Rio

Kadeena Cox celebrates with a gold medal in Rio

Kadeena Cox celebrates with a gold medal in Rio

Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox has defended her decision to compete in The Jump - a choice that has seen her elite UK Sports funding suspended.

The 25-year-old, who has multiple sclerosis and won four medals at the Rio Paralympics including golds in athletics and cycling, justified her appearance on the reality TV show, saying she is looking forward to the experience.

She tweeted: "B4 judging my decisions ppl should imagine living life as a ticking time bomb. MS has changed my outlook on life, so I'm gonna enjoy skiing."

Cox, who had a stroke aged 23 which led to her being diagnosed, became the first Briton since 1988 to win a medal in two sports at the same Paralympics as she won the C4-5 women's cycling time trial and the T38 400m sprint on the athletics track at the Rio Games.

She does not have a major cycling event this year, but she would be expected to take part in the Para Athletics World Championships in London in July.

A British Athletics spokesman said: "Kadeena Cox will be participating on the The Jump on Channel 4 in the coming weeks and British Athletics can confirm that her UK Sport funding supported by the National Lottery will be suspended (from January 1 2017) until she returns to training and proves fitness.

"Due to the nature of the activities on the show, the athlete cannot continue to be supported by the World Class Performance Programme during this time. However, we wish her all the best with the programme and look forward to welcoming her back to the sport after the show."

GB Taekwondo said it had "reservations" over the participation of double Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones in the show, which has a history of its celebrity competitors being forced to pull out of the competition due to injury.

Gymnast Louis Smith and eight-time Olympic medallist and former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins have signed up.

The last series of The Jump saw former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle suffer a serious back injury during training, while swimmer Rebecca Adlington hurt her shoulder.

Sir Steve Redgrave, a five-time Olympic rowing champion, was also forced to pull out of the show after a series of training injuries.

A statement from GB Taekwondo to Press Association Sport read: "While we had our reservations, we understand Jade's desire to try new challenges and to take part in this show.

"We have held extensive discussions with Jade and her management and she is aware of the risks involved.

"She has made an informed decision to take part in the show and has ensured that The Jump and its production company has all the requisite cover and medical provision is in place.

"We will continue to support her as much as we can and look forward to seeing her back in training in due course."

Sir Bradley, 36, said: "Skiing is a big passion of mine, it was a mix of that and the other committed names this year that made me want to sign up.

"Major retiring Olympians such as Sir Steve Redgrave have also trod this path, I see this as a sporting challenge and want to go out there and win it. Just don't call me a celebrity."

Retired Welsh rugby ace Gareth Thomas, Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson and former England international footballer Robbie Fowler will also be taking to the slopes.

Comedian Mark Dolan, models Caprice Bourret and Vogue Williams, TV presenter Emma Parker-Bowles, plus reality TV personality Josie Gibson, Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews and Lydia Bright of The Only Way Is Essex are also among this year's competitors.

PA Media