Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paralympics 'Will Transform People's Attitudes to Disability'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paralympics 'Will Transform People's Attitudes to Disability'

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Blunden

LONDON2012 Mark Blunden BRITAIN'S leading Paralympians predicted today that attitudes to disability in Britain will be transformed by the Games.

Wheelchair basketballer Ade Adepitan, who won bronze in Athens in 2004, was speaking 100 days before the start of the Paralympics.

The event aims to increase sports participation among 10 million disabled people in the country Adepitan, who will help front Channel 4's coverage of the event, said: "It will change people's perceptions of disability -- and not just among ablebodied people. If you are a disabled kid and you see someone like you competing, who also happens to be a great athlete, imagine the confidence boost that will give and the impact on your life."

Sprinter Sophia Warner, who is targeting medals in the 100m and 200m and is ranked number 2 in the world, added: "The Games can address a lack of understanding in society that represents the biggest challenge to being a disabled athlete or a disabled person."

And today Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has 16 Paralympic medals, helped launch an [pounds sterling]8 million Sport England fund to improve levels of participation among disabled people.

About 38 per cent of non-disabled over-16s participate in at least 30 minutes of sport a week, that figure drops to 18 per cent for disabled adults.

Sport England chief executive Jennie Price said it was an "uncomfortable truth" that disabled people enjoy fewer opportunities to get involved in sport".

More than a million tickets were put on sale today to mark the 100-day milestone, and a giant Agitos -- the Paralympic logo -- was projected onto the White Cliffs of Dover. The most popular tickets are expected to be for the 100m final.

South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius pledged to leave his "mark on history" in the Olympic Stadium this summer. The 25-year-old said: "I've been given a talent which I don't intend to waste. …

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