The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has rejected accusations made by Amanda Reid's former coach that the silver medallist has exaggerated her impairments, saying that is just 'opinion' by a non-medical professional.
The Guringai and Wamba Wamba woman won silver in track cycling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, and competed in the London Paralympics in 2012 as a swimmer. Ms Reid was also the 2017 NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year.
Last week Ms Reid's ex-coach, Simon Watkins, told the BBC he was suspicious when the athlete switched symptoms and classifications over a five-year period; from an intellectually impaired athlete, to a visually impaired athlete, then to a physically impaired athlete.
The APC told NITV News that Ms Reid has multiple impairments and that her international classifications in cycling and swimming have 'followed the rules'.
“What is not in question is Amanda’s medical diagnosis from her medical practitioners which form a basis for the rest of the classification process that she has undertaken on multiple occasions to receive her classification in two sports,” the APC spokesperson said.
“Amanda’s former coach – Simon Watkins - is not a classifier or a medical practitioner. His observations quoted in the initial BBC article and others that have following over the past week…are opinions.
"It is an athlete’s choice as to which impairment type they wish to seek a classification for, and compete under (if eligible under multiple impairment types in a sport)."
The APC said is not uncommon to change classifications and many athletes do so for various reasons.
"Amanda’s case is certainly not unique to Paralympic sport. Paralympic athletes can have multiple impairments and compete in different classifications across sports - this is catered for within International classification rules governing Paralympic sport.
“To achieve an international classification, all athletes must undergo rigorous medical testing and physiological testing.
"Para-athletes are often subjected to scrutiny relating to classification."
In 2016, Ms Reid spoke to The Feed about the daily challenges of her impairments.
"My cerebral palsy affects my muscles so they have tremors and little spasms and everything which is hard when you’re riding bike, cause you’ll be riding and next minute you’ll have this spasm like that and you go up the track," Ms Reid said.
"With the intellectual disability it’s hard because you have to try and understand race plans, I just don’t understand stuff, so it’s gotta be broken down a lot more."
Cycling Australia declined to comment.