IPC decision gives athletes a chance to repeat their London 2012 exploits in 2017

Britain’s track and field Paralympians will have the chance to recreate this summer’s golden exploits, after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that London would host the 2017 IPC World Athletics Championships in the Olympic Stadium.

The championships will be held in July 2017, just a month before the same venue hosts the mainstream IAAF World Athletics Championships. London will become the first city to host the two events in the same year.

Britain’s Paralympians were quick to celebrate the announcement on Twitter.

Aled Davies, who won discus gold and shot put bronze at London 2012, tweeted: “Just touched down in Singapore to hear amazing news! The IPC World Championships are in London 2017!!! Yes!!!!!!! We get to do it all again!”

Richard Whitehead, who won 200 metres gold in London, said: “2017 Athletics World Championships in London another great opportunity to see the world’s best athletes! See you all there! Who’s coming?”

And Stephen Miller, who jointly captained the British athletics team in London in his fifth Paralympic Games, added: “In 4 years I may get to have another go in the London Olympic stadium – IPC World Athletics Championships – does #teammiller fancy a day trip?”

London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, said the capital was now “poised to recreate the magic of 2012”.

He added: “London’s Paralympic Games were the first ever to sell out, and these championships provide a perfect chance to build on that enthusiasm for disabled sport, bringing back the world’s greatest Paralympians to the Olympic Stadium, and at the same time providing a major economic boost to the capital.”

The event will be organised by the Greater London Authority, partnering with UK Athletics, ParalympicsGB, Newham council, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the University of East London.

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: “The British public packed the stadium to the rafters for every session during the London 2012 Paralympics and it was the scene for many of the great British moments of the summer.

“It’s fantastic news that it will be the stage for this event in 2017 and we’re sure that the public appetite will be even stronger after the Rio Games.”

The announcement came only two days after a trio of Paralympians appeared in the 12-strong shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

David Weir, Ellie Simmonds and Sarah Storey failed to feature in the top three after the public voting, but members of ParalympicsGB were recognised with three awards.

The ParalympicsGB team – which secured 34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze medals at London 2012 – shared the team of the year award with Team GB, Britain’s Olympic squad.

Teenage Paralympic swimming star Josef Craig, who won 400 metres freestyle gold in London, won the Young Sports Personality of the Year award. He was following in the steps of his team-mate Ellie Simmonds, who won the award in 2008.

And Martine Wright, a survivor of the 2005 London bombings, and a member of the sitting volleyball team that was told it had failed to secure any UK Sport funding just two days later, won the BBC Helen Rollason Award for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity”.

She said it was an “absolute honour” to collect the award, and added: “I do count myself lucky that I survived that awful day, and I count myself lucky that I’ve made an incredible journey the last seven years.”

The award has previously been given to a number of sporting figures with experience of impairment or health conditions, including Oscar Pistorius, Alastair Hignell, Frank Williams and Bob Champion.

Heathrow wheelchair ordeal raises London 2012 questions

A leading activist has accused airline staff of ignoring the needs of disabled passengers at Heathrow, just weeks before thousands of Paralympic athletes and other disabled visitors will flood through the airport.

Julie Newman, acting chair of the UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC), was returning from a disability rights conference in Denmark organised by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

She had asked British Airways (BA) cabin crew on the return flight last Friday evening if they could arrange for her fold-up wheelchair to be brought to the door of the plane on arrival at Heathrow’s terminal five, as it had been when she arrived at Copenhagen on the outward flight.

But as she left the plane, she was told by the airline’s ground handling crew that they would not bring her wheelchair to the plane for “health and safety reasons”, even though they would only have had to wheel it to the entrance, rather than carry it.

Instead, she had to transfer into one of the airport’s own wheelchairs, and then transfer again into her own chair once she had managed to reclaim it from the carousel in the busy luggage retrieval area.

Newman said: “I had to use the generic chair, which for me with my spinal and muscular condition, although it was functional, it hurt. It was very uncomfortable.

“The only time I have been abroad over the last few years is because of UKDPC and the UN Convention [on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities].

“I find it appalling that I go to Europe and I contribute a UK disabled people’s organisation’s perspective, as part of an ongoing dialogue about inclusive society, and then I come back and I am treated like a piece of shit.”

A spokesman for BA, the “official airline partner” of the London 2012 games, said: “We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience and distress experienced by Ms Newman on this occasion, and a member of our customer relations is contacting her to apologise directly and to offer a gesture of goodwill.”

He said BA was continuing to introduce new measures to improve its disability assistance programme, including improving the consistency of returning passengers’ wheelchairs to the aircraft door.

Other measures include providing seat maps on BA’s website, so disabled passengers can choose a seat that best meets their needs; and offering space to stow wheelchairs and mobility aids in aircraft cabins.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has published new guidelines to clarify the rights of disabled air passengers.

The commission said it had published the guidelines as thousands of Paralympians and disabled spectators prepare to travel to London for the 2012 Paralympics.

It said that many disabled air travellers still face problems of “unjustified refusals” to allow them to board aircraft, and other “unfair demands” when attempting to travel.

The guidelines cover travellers at all EU airports and the operations of EU airlines anywhere in the world as well as non-EU airlines within or leaving Europe, and clarify existing EU rules on the rights of disabled air passengers.

Xavier Gonzalez, chief executive of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “Just like the many passengers with a disability who fly on a daily basis, our athletes regularly experience unnecessary problems travelling through airports and with airlines. This should not be the case when we are striving for equality in society.

“This summer, 4,200 athletes will be travelling to London for the biggest ever Paralympic Games.

“The experience they have travelling on airlines and through airports could shape how they view the success of the games, regardless of their athletic performance.”

Classification flaws could mean missed swimming opportunity at London 2012

The lack of severely-impaired swimmers in the British team at this summer’s Paralympics could mean a missed chance to highlight sporting opportunities for other people with similar conditions, according to a leading athlete and activist.

Helen Dolphin is Britain’s fastest 200 metre freestyle swimmer in the S5 category, but because of flaws in the classification system missed out on qualification for London 2012 at the Paralympic trials.

British swimmers could only qualify for the games by clocking times that matched the third best time in the world for their classification – plus an extra two per cent – when the trials were held in March at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.

The world record for her S5 event is 45 seconds faster than her personal best (swimmers with physical impairments are categorised from S1 to S10, with S1 for those with the most severe impairments).

Dolphin, who is director of policy and campaigns for the charity Disabled Motoring UK, says she would have had to secure a time which was fractions of a second slower than that of swimming sensation Ellie Simmonds – who competes in the S6 category  – in order to qualify.

She said: “I believe that there are problems with the classification system, particularly in the lower categories where disabilities are so diverse.

“I don’t wish to take anything away from anybody’s achievements, but for the sake of future athletes with severe impairments I believe it is time for the classification system to be looked at properly.

“I really don’t believe it is possible for anybody with my impairment to swim anywhere near the GB qualification time. I’ve looked at the times of men with similar disabilities and even they are not close to this time.”

The classification system is the responsibility of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), while British Swimming, the governing body for British swimmers, selects the teams.

Dolphin fears that problems with the classification and selection system will mean very few swimmers with severe impairments will represent Britain at London 2012.

With so few British role models on show, she says, this could make it harder to encourage more people with impairments such as hers – she had her legs and hands amputated 15 years ago – to take up swimming.

She said: “Surely it is better to have somebody in these categories swimming there than nobody.

“The message should be that people – whatever their disabilities – can be involved in sport. And if you are number one in your category, surely you should be swimming at London 2012.”

The IPC said it could not comment on individual cases, but a spokesman said that Paralympic athletes were grouped by the “extent of activity limitation they have in common” rather than by their impairment or performance.

He said: “Because the extent of activity limitation and impairment is complex and has continuous variables, it is mathematically impossible to create a classification system in which classes only comprise athletes experiencing exactly the same degree of activity limitation.

“By furthering our understanding of both biomechanics of swimming and more accurate measuring of impairment, the boundaries of classes are subject to regular review.

“However, no system should systematically disadvantage more severely impaired [athletes] within a class.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Paralympic sport bosses set to do more on rights

The sports body that represents Britain’s Paralympians has suggested that it is planning to take a more active stance around disability rights issues.

The British Paralympic Association’s (BPA’s) new five-year strategic plan, published this week, also reveals that it is considering setting up a new museum dedicated to capturing the glory of the London 2012 Paralympics and the history of the Paralympic movement, which has its roots in Britain.

The BPA has been criticised by some disabled activists for not doing more around issues of disability rights, at a time when disabled people across the country are facing attacks on their services, support and benefits.

This week, it was caught up in the storm surrounding the sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympics by Atos, the company responsible for carrying out the government’s controversial “fitness for work” tests.

The BPA was forced to comment after Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the world governing body for Paralympic sport, described Atos as a “top sponsor”, and said he was very happy with the company’s relationship with the IPC.

The IPC later confirmed that it “values Atos as a worldwide partner” and that “the small minority of people who do have an issue with Atos Healthcare should raise it with the DWP who employs them rather than anyone involved in the Paralympic movement”.

Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson – usually thought of as Britain’s greatest Paralympian – had also suggested in an interview with the Guardian this week that the government’s cuts to disability living allowance could harm the development of some top disabled athletes, and make it harder for thousands of disabled people to participate in grassroots sport.

The BPA has now sought to distance itself from Atos, making it clear that its only relationship with the company is through Atos’s sponsorship of the IPC and partnership with the London 2012 organising committee LOCOG.

A BPA spokeswoman said: “Whilst we believe that our athletes and the Paralympic movement can have a significant positive impact on wider society, we would expect to leave comments on specific disability issues not related to sport to other, better-placed organisations.”

But she added: “If the profile the BPA achieves for British athletes provides them with the platform and the profile to share their views on disability issues, then that message will be even more powerful.”

The BPA’s new strategic plan suggests, though, that it wants to play a bigger role in pushing for equality for disabled people.

It says that it wants to “provide an informed and credible opinion in terms of wider social policy debate around disability”.

It makes it clear in the plan that its priority is to “make the UK the leading nation in Paralympic sport”, and points out that three out of four disabled people in the UK do not play any sport.

But it adds: “We are also committed to engaging politically with both the UK government and all devolved administrations to ensure we can advocate successfully as a British body… and more broadly with disability rights groups and charities with whom the issues raised by our profile beyond the London games will continue to be relevant.”

A BPA spokeswoman said: “The intention of the plan is to be permissive. It is not a business plan but it illustrates the range of options we could consider.”

Although the BPA did not want to talk further about its strategic plan, Disability News Service (DNS) understands that it would be unlikely to begin campaigning openly on disability rights issues.

Only two months ago, Baroness Grey-Thompson told DNS that more should be done to “educate” the country’s elite disabled athletes about some of the real-life challenges facing other disabled people.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Inspired folk dancers receive 2012 seal of approval

A project that adapts traditional English folk dances for wheelchair-users has been recognised by organisers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Folk in Motion has been granted an Inspire mark, official 2012 branding that recognises innovative and exceptional projects inspired by the games.

The project takes traditional English folk dances dating back to the 1600s and adapts them for wheelchair-users, to produce a new form of dance that those taking part have called “wolk”.

Wolk is danced in pairs, with a group of pairs making up a team, usually of eight dancers. Teams dance at the pace of the slowest member.

Dr Ju Gosling, who created the project and is based in the 2012 host borough of Newham, said: “We believe that dance is for everyone. With no body movements required, wolk is open to all wheelchair-users, including people who need to be pushed. Forming a wolk team is also a great way to have fun and make friends.”

Gosling is hoping the Folk in Motion project – which is supported by the English Folk Dance and Song Society – will boost interest and participation in wheelchair dance.

Wheelchair dance sport is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee, although it is not included within the Paralympics itself. There are fewer than 15 wheelchair dance sport clubs in the UK, compared with more than 10 times that number in the Netherlands.

Gosling also hopes local wheelchair-users will take part in a wolk project at the Together international disability arts festival, which is due to take place in parallel with the Paralympics, in a park in Newham, less than two miles from the main Olympic Park.

There could also be a performance on what is likely to be the penultimate day of the festival, Saturday 8 September.

Gosling is director of the festival, which will put disability rights at its heart, and will be led by the UK Disabled People’s Council.

The Folk in Motion project was founded last November following Gosling’s exhibition Canning Town Folk, which looked at the work of three women from the English folk dance movement, and their links with Canning Town in east London, early in the last century.

While working on the exhibition, Gosling realised the dances could be adapted for wheelchair-users. A development week was funded by Arts Council England.

The project provides free downloadable choreography, music, scores and teaching videos on its website.

Lord [Seb] Coe, chair of the London 2012 organising committee LOCOG, said: “Folk in Motion is encouraging disabled people to fulfill their potential.

“I am proud that with the help of partners such as Folk in Motion and the English Folk Dance and Song Society, we are delivering our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in wheelchair dance.”

Folk in Motion is available for demonstrations and to lead workshops, and next year plans a tour of folk festivals.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

2012 torch will reflect unique Paralympic relay

The organisers of London 2012 have unveiled the new Paralympic torch, as they marked the latest milestone in the count-down to the games.

The three-sided torch – made from an aluminium alloy – has the same design as the golden Olympic torch, but has been given a silver mirrored finish so that its colour will adapt to its surroundings.

Because part of the torch relay will take place at night – the Olympic relay will only take place during the day – the lit Paralympic torch should also shine brightly and stand out in the darkness.

The three sides of the torch echo the three identical but differently-coloured shapes that make up the Paralympic symbol.

The torch was revealed as the 2012 organising committee, LOCOG, marked six months to the opening ceremony of the games on 29 August.

LOCOG also confirmed that the Paralympics will be declared open by the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. They will also perform the same roles at the Olympics opening ceremony on 27 July.

It will be the first time the Queen has opened a Paralympic games, although she opened the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

The Paralympics torch relay will take a unique form, with separate flames lit in London (24 August), Belfast (25 August), Edinburgh (26 August) and Cardiff (27 August), before the four are brought together at a ceremony on 28 August at Stoke Mandeville, the “spiritual home” of the Paralympic movement.

This flame will then be carried by teams of volunteers on a 24-hour relay to the Olympic Stadium in east London for the opening ceremony.

LOCOG also announced the 33 communities across the UK that will host Paralympic “flame celebrations” over the August bank holiday weekend. Other communities will be encouraged to play a part by lighting their own lanterns.

Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said: “I think it is brilliant that the actual Paralympic flame, that will be used to light the cauldron in the opening ceremony on 29 August, will be created at Stoke Mandeville, a place steeped in Paralympic history.

“The games are coming home in six months’ time and it is only right that we celebrate the significance of Stoke Mandeville, the Paralympic movement’s birthplace.”

The torch will be carried by teams nominated by the public – and then selected by the relay’s sponsors, Sainsbury’s, BT and  Lloyds TSB – as well as those nominated by the IPC, the British Paralympic Association, and the three sponsors.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Demand for Paralympic tickets is ‘unprecedented’

Demand for tickets for next year’s Paralympics in London has reached “unprecedented” levels, according to the 2012 organising committee.

Between 9 and 26 September, 116,000 people applied for tickets to next summer’s games, applying for a total of 1.14 million tickets.

Out of 300 ticketed sessions, 126 are now over-subscribed in at least one of the price categories and so will need to have their tickets allocated via a ballot – the first time any Paralympic games has had to take such a step.

There are only three sports – road cycling, sitting volleyball and powerlifting – in which there are no oversubscribed sessions in at least one price category.

Although it is the first time any organising committee has put tickets on sale so far in advance – and not on a “first come, first served” basis – a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said that “we never have seen demand like this”.

He said: “To have applications for 1.14 million tickets after a three-week ticket window is phenomenal.”

In 2008, the Beijing organising committee eventually sold 1.82 million tickets at full price, while the government bought another 1.64 million and distributed them to community groups, schools, and other organisations. Athens sold just 850,000 tickets for the 2004 Paralympics, while Sydney sold 1.2 million in 2000.

But the figures for the past three Paralympics are for final ticket sales, while there is nearly a year to go until the 2012 games open.

Sir Philip Craven, the IPC’s president, said: “To have over a million tickets applied for 11 months out from the games is unprecedented and underlines the growing excitement for what will be a tremendous sporting event.

“This will be the first time ballots have been held for a number of sports, and I could not be more thrilled.”

Payment for tickets will be taken by 31 October, with notification of whether applications have been successful sent by 18 November.

More Paralympic tickets will be put on sale in December, with a final batch to be made available next spring.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Activists propose 2012 Paralympics boycott over IPC’s Atos links

Furious disabled activists are proposing a boycott of next year’s Paralympic games in London, over links between the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the company that tests disabled people’s “fitness to work” for the government.

Campaigners have become increasingly angry at the Paralympic movement’s links with Atos, which is a sponsor and IT partner of the Paralympics and is building the IPC’s new website.

The ties were strengthened last month when the IPC co-opted the founder and former chair of Atos, Bernard Bourigeaud, onto its governing board.

Atos Healthcare – the branch of the company that carries out work capability assessments (WCA) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – has been the focus of repeated protest action by disabled activists.

The call for a boycott over IPC’s links with Atos has come from Black Triangle, which campaigns against the unfair use of the WCA to reclassify disabled people as “fit to work”.

This call has already been backed by two other campaigning organisations, Disabled People Against Cuts and the DWPExaminations internet forum, which hosts accounts of disabled people’s experiences of the WCA.

Disabled activist John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said he and fellow campaigners would continue to call for a boycott of the Paralympics if Atos did not withdraw from the WCA contract.

He said: “It is quite frankly obscene that they are sponsors of the Paralympics. The government is using them and the Paralympics to make propaganda for their ill-conceived welfare cuts programme.”

He said campaigners would also lobby Paralympians to boycott 2012 and “speak out against the plethora of cuts to disabled people’s income and other support”.

He said: “We are not all supermen and women who are able to participate in the economy and society as the government would have you think.

“If people are to be assessed for their fitness to work it must be done ethically and based on sound scientific and medical judgment and not some flawed ‘tick-box’ computer assessment administered by Atos that is getting it wrong disastrously on a scale which defies belief.”

The IPC insisted that it had “no dealings at all” with Atos Healthcare, and activists were “tarnishing an entire organisation because of what one arm of that organisation is doing”.

An IPC spokesman said: “Of course we understand that people have concerns, but we would be very disappointed if people did boycott what will hopefully be the biggest and best Paralympics so far because of this when at the end of the day Atos Healthcare are fulfilling a duty they have been asked to do. Surely it is for the British government to resolve.”

He added: “We are aware that some people are unhappy that we have Atos as a partner and the appointment of Bernard Bourigeaud.”

He said Bourigeaud was appointed because of the IPC’s long relationship with Atos, his close relationship with the board, and his experience of working on international projects.

He promised that Paralympic athletes would be able to speak out next summer on equality, discrimination and rights issues, and would be allowed to criticise Atos Healthcare as long as they did it without bringing the IPC or the games into “disrepute”.

He said: “If they have an issue with Atos, if they want to express it, so be it.”

A spokeswoman for ParalympicsGB, which manages Britain’s Paralympians, said: “We want as many people as possible to support the British athletes and therefore would be disappointed if such a boycott took place. However we accept that this decision rests with each individual.”

She added: “We are aware that Atos’s involvement with the DWP is drawing a lot of attention at the moment. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and are keeping the IPC aware of the feedback we are receiving.”

She also promised that team members “would be free to express their own opinions” on “any issues that affect them”.

An Atos spokeswoman said Bourigeaud left the company in 2007 and no longer has any connection with it, although she said Atos was aware of the reaction to the IPC co-opting him onto its board.

In a statement, Atos said that it “acknowledges all public debate” and is “committed to working with the IPC to deliver the technology that will help ensure a successful games for athletes and spectators around the world”.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

International Paralympic Day: Sir Philip calls for end to use of ‘disabled’

The British head of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has defended his suggestion that the 2012 Paralympics should be used as a stepping-stone towards stopping the use of the words “disabled” and “disability”.

Sir Philip Craven, the IPC president and a former Paralympian, first made his comments earlier this week in an interview with the BBC, in which he said the word “disabled” needs to be “removed from the lexicon as it pertains to human beings”.

He repeated his call today at the International Paralympic Day (IPD) celebrations in London’s Trafalgar Square.

He told Disability News Service that the London 2012 Paralympics “could well be a step in the right direction” in removing the word “disabled” from use.

He said: “What I object to is the use of the word ‘disabled’ about an individual.

“‘Disabled’ pertaining to an individual is pure negativity. It doesn’t allow the individual’s personality to shine through.”

He said he would “definitely not” describe himself as a disabled person, although he added: “An individual has every right to call themselves what they want.”

But Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals, said it was important that the word “disabled” could be used.

She said: “I was an athlete but I am a disabled woman. It is part of my identity and part of who I am.

“I would rather the barriers [in society] were removed rather than worrying about language.”

She said she received many emails in the House of Lords from disabled people telling her about the discrimination they have experienced.

She added: “Just because we had a Disability Discrimination Act, the Paralympics is not going to solve all the problems of the world. Until the last barrier is gone we cannot stop fighting.”

And Ade Adepitan, the TV presenter and former Paralympic wheelchair basketball medal-winner, said he also believed there was a need for the word “disabled”, although the biggest change needed was in “people’s hearts and minds” and not in the words used to describe disabled people.

But he added: “First and foremost, people should look at everyone as individuals. We know all disabled people are different.”

Maria Miller, the minister for disabled people, said she had some sympathy with the aim of trying not to “categorise people in very simplistic terms”, because “everybody is an individual”.

But she said she did not believe 2012 should be used as an opportunity to try to rid society of the words “disabled” and “disability”.

She said: “I think there are an awful lot more important things to think about.”

IPD saw 20 Paralympic sports showcased for members of the public, and featured appearances from scores of Paralympic athletes, as well as the prime minister, David Cameron, London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, and Lord [Sebastian] Coe, who chairs the 2012 organising committee.

Tickets for the 2012 Paralympics are on sale from 9 September to 26 September.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Final countdown begins for 2012 Paralympics

Organisers of next year’s London 2012 Paralympics have released full details of the competition schedule for all 20 sports.

The details were released as the organising committee prepared to pass a key milestone in its preparations for London 2012: one year to go until the opening ceremony on 29 August 2012.

Ticket prices were also confirmed at the same time as full details for the 10 days of competition, including the dates and times for more than 300 sessions across the 20 sports in 20 venues.

Track and field athletics will start on 31 August and finish on 8 September, with the marathon taking place the following day, 9 September, the same day as the closing ceremony.

Track cycling will take place between 30 August and 2 September, with swimming from 30 August to 8 September.

Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “Our elite athletes will captivate billions around the world, will inspire millions and ultimately lead to societal change and help alter perceptions of what can be achieved by a person with an impairment.

“These are a games not to be missed and the announcement of the competition schedule, together with International Paralympic Day [in Trafalgar Square] on 8 September, act as two steps closer to the opening ceremony of the games next year.”

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of ParalympicsGB, which manages Britain’s Paralympians, said: “Knowing that the schedule is out makes it all the more real.

“We are working hard with the sports and athletes to make every one of the last 369 days count, as everyone is determined to produce their lifetime best performances on home soil.

“We hope that people will use the schedule to plan their trip so that they can get behind the ParalympicsGB team and cheer us on.”

The highest ticket prices will be for athletics sessions in the main Olympic stadium, track cycling in the Velodrome and swimming in the Aquatics Centre, likely to be the three most popular sports among spectators.

Tickets for athletics, swimming and track cycling sessions that include medal-deciding finals range from £5 for concessions to £45 for the most expensive tickets.

Tickets for the archery, equestrian events, rowing, shooting and road cycling are just £10, with concessions also available.

Most tickets for 5-a-side and 7-a-side football will be £15, as will most of those for wheelchair basketball, boccia, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, table-tennis, sitting volleyball, wheelchair fencing, goalball, judo and powerlifting, again with concessions available.

Sailing in Weymouth and Portland, Dorset, will be a free, non-ticketed event.

Prices for the opening and closing ceremonies are much higher than for any of the sports events. Tickets for the opening ceremony on 29 August 2012 range from £20.12 up to £500, with closing ceremony tickets as high as £350.

Tickets will be on sale from 9am on 9 September 2011.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com