Paralympian Kadeena Cox hits out at criticism of her involvement in The Jump

The athlete recently lost her UK Sport funding for appearing on the C4 show

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Paralympian Kadeena Cox has defended her decision to take part in C4’s The Jump after UK Sport suspended her funding.

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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 ski-slope show, saying she’s simply going to enjoy the experience.

Cox – the first Brit to win gold medals in multiple sports at the Paralympics since 1988 – wrote on Twitter how multiple sclerosis changed her outlook on life, turning it into a “ticking time bomb”.

The athlete was diagnosed with MS after suffering from a stroke aged 23. She went on to win C4-5 women’s cycling time trial and the T38 400m sprint at the 2016 Rio Paralympic games.

Although the 2016 Sports Personality of the Year nominee doesn’t have any major cycling events this year, Cox will be expected to compete in July’s Para Athletics World Championships.

A spokesperson for the MS society, of which Cox is an ambassador, told RadioTimes.com they supported Cox’s decision : “Multiple sclerosis can be a really challenging condition to live with. It’s unpredictable, which means that symptoms – including problems with walking, pain and debilitating fatigue – can flare up at any time.

“Many people after a diagnosis want to undertake physical challenges that in future they may not be able to do. So we understand and support Kadeena’s choice to take part in The Jump and we wish her all the best for the show.”

A British Athletics spokesman told PA: “Kadeena Cox will be participating on 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.”

This news comes after Olympian Louise Hazel said athletes should withdraw from The Jump to avoid potential “career-ending” injuries. Cox is joined on the latest Channel 4 series by fellow sportsmen Bradley Wiggins, Jade Jones and Louis Smith.

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The Jump will return February 5th on Channel 4