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Disability Perceptions More Upbeat for 2012 Paralympics

September 22 2009 | by

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International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven believes that perceptions of Paralympic sport and towards the disabled in society are shifting to a more positive light, according to a U.K. Telegraph article. “Over the [last] eight years Paralympic sport has become something in the hearts and and minds of spectators and television audiences and it will be about growing that and building a relationship. People who say it is not a sport are usually people who have not seen it. When people look at [sprinter] Oscar Pistorius, they see him as an incredible athlete.”

Craven believes London 2012, which began in the U.K., will give the Games a greater platform to start from. He hails from Lancashire and is a former British wheelchair basketball player, widely considered the best in the world in his day. “No one knew [the Paralympic Games] could create that spirit and that is now to come shining through in London, where I think that will happen again. We had no idea of the success Beijing would have before the Games. I think we have that same drive with three years to go in making sure the Games are about athletes and spectators.”

Still, the article reported that research commissioned by London 2012 found that, on average, 69 per cent of those surveyed could not name a Paralympian, whereas 94 percent of the U.K. public have heard of the Paralympic Games. The 2012 research also indicated that 69 percent of the public would like to see more media coverage of Paralympic world.

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