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Taplow's Chippington feels a sense of relief after Paralympics qualification

Taplow Paralympic stalwart Jeanette Chippington isn’t used to missing out on para-canoeing medals on the world stage but the feeling suits her just fine.

The 49-year-old is still at the top of her game, representing Paralympics GB at a stunning five successive Paralympics Games – first in the pool and now with a paddle.

Chippington has a stunning record in the KL1 category, winning seven medals in 2018 and achieving a clean sweep of Paralympic, World and European titles in the same calendar year three years ago.

But with the top six boats at August’s World Championships in Hungary securing a quota spot for Tokyo, squeaking home in sixth felt like a boon for the Berkshire-born star.

“It was a massive sense of relief to get the job done,” said Chippington, awarded an MBE in 2017.

“It wasn't until weeks later when I got back, I realised it was the first time I hadn't medalled at a competition. But the way it turned out it was like a medal, if not even better.

“We went to Tokyo for a test event recently and it was an amazing experience. I beat the world champion and it was great to feel back on top form again.

“I came away from that with very positive memories of Japan and that will give me momentum going into the Paralympics.”

Chippington was speaking at the Olympic Park in Stratford, where she joined 25 past and present British athletes to mark the 25-year anniversary of the National Lottery.

Since the National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage, culture, film, charity and community, with more than 4,500 elite athletes receiving grants enabling them to access the best coaching, facilities and support staff in the world. Before funding began for elite sport, Great Britain were ranked 36th in the medal table at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, but at Rio 2016 – after almost two decades of funding – Team GB finished second.

Chippington has enjoyed a 20-year career at the top level of disability sport and feels Lottery funding has been vital in taking the Paralympic movement to the next level

"I saw the before and after of Lottery Funding coming in for athletes and it just made a massive difference,” she said.

“Before it came in we had one competition a year, and even then it was doubtful whether we’d be able to afford to attend it as a team.

"The funding has been incredible for disability sport. It's exactly the same for an Olympian as a Paralympian, and that's a huge thing for us to be celebrated in the same way.”

Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the 25th hashtag: #NationalLottery25

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