Paralympics taken to UK's heart, Locog says

Wheelchair athlete David Weir of Great Britain Record TV audiences have been tuning in to watch stars such as wheelchair athlete David Weir

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The UK has taken the Paralympics "to its heart", organisers have said, with the Games set to see the one-millionth visitor over the next 48 hours.

Locog said the 10,000 extra tickets being put on sale every day were being bought within minutes.

Record TV audiences have also prompted Games broadcaster Channel 4 to clear its daytime schedule for more coverage.

ParalympicsGB now sit second in the medal table behind China after winning 16 golds, seven of them on Sunday.

Across the day Great Britain won seven golds, eight silvers and three bronze medals in events including cycling, rowing, dressage, swimming and athletics.

Elsewhere there was controversy as South African favourite Oscar Pistorius, who also competed in the Olympics, took silver in the T44 200m final behind surprise winner Alan Oliveira, of Brazil.

Afterwards Pistorius complained that his rival's blades were too long, but officials insisted no rules had been broken.

ParalympicsGB are now well over halfway to their target of 103 medals after just four days of competition.

Paralympics coverage online

Natasha Baker, Paralympic torch,  Arnaud Assouman

Their medal tally stands at 16 gold, 24 silver and 14 bronze. China have 35 golds, with Australia and Ukraine the next best nations with 13 each.

Almost three million television viewers watched 17-year-old swimmer Ellie Simmonds break the world record as she won gold in a dramatic S6 400m freestyle race on Saturday.

Jay Hunt, chief creative officer at Channel 4, said: "The coverage of the Paralympics has completely captured the public's imagination. We are clearing our schedule to bring viewers even more of this fantastic sport."

The UK broadcaster had been showing late afternoon coverage on sister station More4 but will make the change from Monday after strong viewing figures, include peak audiences of 11.2 million viewers for last week's opening ceremony.

The channel will show daily Games coverage from 07:00 BST to 23:15 BST, with a 30-minute break for Channel 4 News at 19:00 BST.

A Locog spokesman said: "The whole of the UK has taken the Games to its heart. As soon as tickets have been released, they have been snapped up."

Also at the Games on Sunday:

On Monday, highlights for Britain include Pearson in the individual freestyle test, Simmonds back in the pool in the 200m, David Weir on the track in the 1500m and John Stubbs defending his archery title.

Meanwhile, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has defended its decision not to drug test all medal-winning athletes, in contrast to what happened at the London Olympics.

The IPC said the greater number of events made that "impossible", with more than 500 golds being competed for compared with 300 at the Olympics.

It said more than a quarter of the 4,200 Paralympic athletes competing in London would be tested - up a fifth on Beijing 2008.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    I was there today to see Natasha Baker win Gold along with my toddler daughter and husband. All the athletes in that event were amazing today (as they are in everything) and an absolute inspiration. Much better role models for my daughter than enyone else I can think of. The event was excellent as was the organisation and the Games Makers were fantastic. Well done everyone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    In terms of suspense and excitement in the last 400m, David Weir in his chair was no less thrilling than Mo Farrah in the 5000m. If you're not watching then you're missing a treat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Seeing our Olympians and Paralympians work so hard and achieve so much, has made me so proud to be a Brit. 2012 has been a fantastic year for this country and I really hope it inspires us all to go out there and do our best for the UK and all the brilliant people in it

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    I'd simply like to take this chance to admit I've been changed by these games. I've stopped seeing "disabled people" and started to see "people".

    I didn't even realise I was doing it.

    I hope this leads to far more mainstream involvement that does not have this apartheid system in place, however glossily presented.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.


    I entirely agree with you. I was glued to the BBC coverage of the Olympics and was really hoping that they would be covering the Paralympics as well. The only trouble with Channel 4 is you just get into watching all the excitement and then the adverts come on!
    However, go Paralympics GB you are just great and an inspiration to us all.


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