Olympics-infographic (2)Just 29% of public oppose closer integration of competitions for disabled and non-disabled athletes

Paralympian long-jumper Markus Rehm, an amputee, currently barred from competing at the Olympics

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s pre-Paralympic Games survey of over 2,000 people has found there is an interesting level of public support for integrating sporting competitions for disabled athletes into the Olympic Games.

48 percent agreed, while only 29 percent of the public disagreed

Also interestingly, there was no significant percentage difference found between the views of disabled and non-disabled people.

What would integration look like?

The survey has been conducted following developments since London 2012, when a prosthetic-limbed runner was permitted to compete alongside non-disabled athletes at an Olympic Games for the first time.

Last year multi gold medal winning Paralympian David Weir CBE lobbied for wheelchair athletes to be allowed to compete on the mainstream athletics circuit.

This year Markus Rehm, a long jumper with a prosthetic limb, has jumped further than the distance recorded when Greg Rutherford MBE won gold on home soil at the London 2012 Olympics. Markus has said he would like to participate on the Rio Olympics’ stage, even if not permitted to compete for a medal.

Peter Jenkins, Managing Director External Affairs, Leonard Cheshire Disability, said:

“Leonard Cheshire Disability is constantly measuring and reflecting on the views of the disabled people we support, as well as the views of non-disabled people.”

The survey commissioned by Leonard Cheshire with ComRes has found there is clearly a range of views out there.

Ultimately any changes to the status quo are a matter for the International Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.

We at Leonard Cheshire are all looking forward to this year’s Paralympics – a fantastic showcase for the phenomenal sporting feats being achieved by disabled people.”

Markus Rehm, Paralympian told media outlets last month:

“Being at the Olympics representing my country would be a special feeling. I can represent Paralympic sport as well, and it would be an amazing chance to show what Paralympic athletes are able to achieve.”

Alastair Hignell CBE, Leonard Cheshire Disability Trustee, England rugby international and respected sports broadcaster said:

“The findings thrown up by this research are extremely interesting, and will no doubt trigger further debate, which is only right.

“Leonard Cheshire Disability supports all disabled athletes. We also care passionately about creating greater sporting and exercise opportunities for disabled people wanting to participate purely for leisure. The benefits for both physical and mental health are the same for everyone.”

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