Almost two-thirds of disabled people want the Paralympics scrapped and merged with the Olympics, a survey has shown.
Support for such a move is backed by 65% of disabled people and 62% of parents of disabled children, according to a poll for the charity Scope.
More than half of all Britons polled, including those without disabilities, said combining the Olympics and Paralympics would help disabled athletes to be taken more seriously and improve society's views about disabled people.
The poll, carried out by ComRes, also found that 42% of disabled people did not believe the Paralympics had a positive impact on public perceptions of disability.
And 20% believe the Games make disabled people appear second class, while 22% believe the event is patronising towards them.
Although 61% of the 386 disabled people polled think the Paralympics provide an opportunity, just 23% see it as empowering.
Disabled people were also more likely to view the Games as a waste of money, with 9% taking that view as opposed to 5% of the whole population.
The survey also found general apathy about the Games, with just 11% of Britons excited about the Paralympics.
Under a third of disabled people and 18% of the whole population plan to watch all or most of the events.
Alice Maynard, chairwoman of Scope, said: "Changing attitudes is about visibility and increased familiarity in everyday life.
"But if the only disabled people that get any profile out of the Games are Paralympians – and their feats of sporting success – then it is unlikely that the Games will do much to change people's perceptions of ordinary disabled people.
"The challenge for London 2012 is to make sure disabled people are involved not just on track and field but throughout the Games and the celebrations before and afterwards."
Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive officer of the British Paralympic Association, said: "No one disputes that the Paralympic Games has a crucial role to play in changing perceptions of disability.
"However, for Scope to suggest that it would be appropriate to scrap the competition now and combine it with the Olympics fails to appreciate its unique purpose, scale and power.
"The Paralympics is already the second largest sporting event in the world, and London will see it take another huge leap forward in terms of awareness and understanding.
"The brilliant success of ticket sales and the increase in media coverage indicates to me that, contrary to the survey's sample, there is a big public appetite for Paralympic sport."
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Express in the UK:
Posted by BA Haller at 10:35 PM