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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 July, 2004, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Paralympic team in kit row
Danny Crates
Crates will compete in the 800m for Britain in Athens
Paralympic athletes have voiced concern that their team has to pay towards kit for the summer Games in Athens while able-bodied competitors do not.

Adidas is supplying the British Olympic Association free of charge but the British Paralympic Association (BPA) is only being offered a discount.

"It seems quite harsh when you think the team is almost paying to go and race," said Paralympian Danny Crates.

But the BPA said it was happy with its sponsorship deal.

At Athens, BBC TV will show 90 minutes of Paralympics coverage each day.

And Crates told BBC Five Live: "Individual athletes are rising in status very fast, and are very well-known people now. There's plenty of scope there to use us."

Adidas, which has sponsored the British Paralympic team for eight years, said it would not comment on a contractual agreement.

A spokesman said the firm had enjoyed a long-standing and successful relationship with the team.

But athlete Tushar Patel, who just missed out on qualifying for Athens, is unhappy with the arrangement.

"I think it's disgraceful that Adidas is doing this. It looks like discrimination again," said Patel.


A statement from the BPA said the sponsorship meant Paralympic athletes had been able to wear the same design of clothing as the British Olympians for the last eight years.

"Adidas has long been a supporter of the British team," it said.

"The British Paralympic Association is grateful to Adidas for its ongoing support and we are happy with the relationship we have with them."

Former Paralympian Jane Blackburn, who won four golds and a silver in table tennis, said she sympathised with the BPA.

"I'm a bit disappointed with Adidas. On the other hand, I can understand the BPA not wanting to make it too obvious that this is happening as they don't want to lose one of their biggest sponsors," she said.

Swimmer Marc Woods, who has won 11 medals at previous Paralympics, questioned whether it was realistic to expect the same sponsorship as able-bodied athletes.

"We do not get the wall-to-wall coverage like the Olympic guys get," said Woods.

Great Britain finished second in the overall medals table at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

They collected a total of 41 golds, 43 silvers and 47 bronzes - a haul only bettered by the host nation.

The Athens 2004 Paralympic Games take place from 17-28 September.

Paralympic Games 2004



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