Jessica-Jane Applegate ‘really excited’ for Tokyo after gold medal win in Madeira

Jessica-Jane Applegate says she’s ‘excited’ for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo after winning gold on the opening day of the World Para Swimming European Open Championships in Madeira.

The City of Norwich SC athlete was crowned European champion in the Women’s S14 200m Freestyle after clocking a time of 2:12.26.

Despite a late challenge from Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg, Applegate finished strongly in what was her first international swim since 2019.

Following her win, she said: “I have only been in the swimming pool for four weeks this year.

“I practiced a little bit this morning and when the race came I just held on in there. It was a very painful race.

“It’s the first time I have swum inside of a long-course pool since 2019. It’s pretty nice to be back. I was really surprised with the result.

“I haven’t done much training so I’m really excited to go back to the UK to start working hard again.

“It’s really exciting. I can do this result now so I am really excited to see what I am able to do in Tokyo.”

Silver success for Hamer

There was also success for the GB para-swimming team in the Men’s S14 200m Freestyle, as Tom Hamer clinched a silver medal.

The 22-year-old was leading at the half-way point, until Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira powered to the front.

Russia’s Viacheslav Emeliantsev just got past Hamer at the death, but his time of 1:57.20 was enough to hold out for European silver, with Emeliantsev of Russia taking the gold and Bandeira winning overall.

Hamer said: “I was very nervous this morning going into the heats just because I haven’t raced in two years and that familiar feeling I used to have just wasn’t there – but once I finished the race I just knew how much I’d missed it and that feeling got me on it for tonight’s swim.

“To get the silver and third overall I’m really happy with. I didn’t come here for medals but to get back in the process of racing and post a time.

“This is definitely just an icebreaker for the Paralympics. Even though Europeans wasn’t on my initial plan, I’m so happy I’ve come here to get used to racing in these ‘not normal’ situations having missed out on opportunities earlier in the year.”

Picture credit: Para Swimming Twitter