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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 08:07 GMT
Brace unhappy at Weir's absence
by Elizabeth Hudson

David Weir
Weir has enjoyed plenty of success in 2006
British Paralympic Association chairman Mike Brace has criticised the omission of David Weir from the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The wheelchair racer failed to make it onto the 10-strong list for the award, which will be presented on Sunday.

"For none of our top disabled athletes to be recognised in the shortlist is disappointing," Brace told BBC Sport.

"I think this shows how far disability sport has got to go to be accepted by the general public."

606 DEBATE: Do you agree with the Sports Personality shortlist?

This year Weir won the London Marathon as well as winning three gold medals at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May and September's IPC World Championships in Assen.

He also broke two world records and won gold over 1500m at the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg.

What we want is increased awareness of the performances of elite athletes with a disability

BPA chairman Mike Brace

Those achievements have not seen him included alongside the likes of Andy Murray, Zara Philips, Darren Clarke and Monty Panesar on the final list which was was decided from a combination of online and postal public votes, newspaper and magazine editors and a BBC Sport panel of experts.

"Dave has had a lot of coverage for his many successes this year and I think we would have expected him to have been in contention," said Brace.

"With the increased profile of Paralympic sport, we hope for more athletes with a disability to be in the public arena.

"What we want is increased awareness of the top performances of elite athletes with a disability ahead of both the Beijing and London Paralympics.

"We have had British Paralympic athletes achieving success on the world stage this year in many sports including athletics, cycling, table tennis, swimming and sailing but many of those are better known abroad.

"We need to see what else we can do to bring those sort of perfomances to a wider public and establish those athletes as high profile sports stars and people who warrant awards."



SEE ALSO
Ten compete for BBC Sport award
04 Dec 06 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality contenders
04 Dec 06 |  Sports Personality
How the shortlist was reached
04 Dec 06 |  Sports Personality
Wheelchair racers win top awards
27 Nov 06 |  Disability Sport
Tanni backing Weir for award list
24 Oct 06 |  Sports Personality


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