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Paralympic sports - 14. February 2011.

IPC `Utterly Disgusted' by Micheal Laws comments on Radiolive

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), led by its President Sir Philip Craven, has said it is `utterly disgusted' by comments made by `broadcaster' Michael Laws on New Zealand based RadioLive and called for the radio station to terminate his employment.

During his show last Friday the broadcaster, who has a reputation for provocative comments, described sports for people with a disability as `ludicrous'.  He also claimed it was `crazy' that Para-athletics should be eligible for New Zealand's Halberg Awards which recognize top sporting achievements before adding "If you have had your legs chopped off, you shouldn't be in there at all."

He later questioned the competition levels of Paralympic Sport by adding: "The fact that a guy was able to fall down, get up again and still win, shows that there wasn't really a lot of competition in his field was there."

After hearing about his comments Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: "I speak on behalf of the whole Paralympic Movement when I say that I am utterly disgusted at what this individual said.

"This person has a history for ill-advised comments and actions and now he has stooped to a new pathetic low.

"His derogatory comments are an insult to all athletes within the Paralympic Movement who train for long hours each day to compete at the highest level.

"To say there is not a lot of competition in Paralympic Sport is pure ignorance.  It's a real shame that he couldn't attend the recent IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch.

"In the Men's 100m T44 for example just 0.09 seconds separated the top four finishers - now most people would class that as excellent competition.

"What is equally disappointing is that his employers RadioWorks are standing by him claiming to have not received any complaints.

"I will be writing to them together with the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Agency to highlight my disgust at this individual's comment and I urge others to do the same.

"His comments have absolutely no place in society, and his employer should do the responsible thing and remove the platform they currently give him to air his archaic and mindless views.

"I would also urge listeners and advertisers to boycott the station. No-one should have to hear this foolish man's polluted comments ever again."

Anyone wishing to make a complaint regarding Michael Law's comments should contact the Media Works website - www.mediaworks.co.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=267

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