Mencap has accused the paralympic games of “blatant
discrimination”, after athletes with learning difficulties were
banned from the games.
The ban on the athletes competing in the Athens Paralympics, which
starts this week, follows the controversy at the last games in
Sydney, where a small number of athletes falsely claimed to have a
The International Paralympic Committee and the international sports
body representing athletes with learning difficulties have spent
the past four years trying to agree on a way of testing and
classifying athletes with learning difficulties but have failed to
resolve the issue.
Following the ban, athletes who had trained for years to compete in
the games have had their funding cut.
Mencap chief executive Jo Williams said: “For disabled people not
to be able to participate in the paralympics is blatant
discrimination. We urge the sports bodies to find a
Thomas Poulton-White, a 100 metres runner ranked fourth in the
world said: “It’s like they are saying we don’t have a disability.
They think we’re cheats and we didn’t cheat.”