Paralympics 2012: Views from around the world
The Paralympic Games are being hailed as one of the most important events in the UK's history for helping raise the profile of disabled athletes - and disabled people in general. But what about the rest of the world?
The BBC's language services sought the views of their audiences, asking them 'Does sport improve people's views towards disability?'
Many said the Paralympics portrayed disabled athletes in an overwhelmingly positive light - but also showed their own societies' issues over rights and infrastructure for disabled people.
"Sport is the greatest tool of social inclusion, because we can overcome our own limits, physical or psychological. It is in sports that Paralympic athletes better overcome their challenges. Maybe because we struggle against hardships every second of our lives, we can handle extreme situations better and more easily during competitions," Brazilian athlete Fernando Fernandes de Padua told BBC Brasil.'Real champions'
"I think the life of a disabled athlete is not easy, because every day we have to fight against the odds and obstacles that life puts us," Venezuelan athlete Juan Ramon Valladares told BBC Mundo.
"Thanks all for great support that you provide and that is the love that gives us the strength to move forward and achieve our desired dreams."
Carla Ferreira, a canoeist with cerebral palsy from Portugal, told BBC Brasil she had started out playing the Paralympic sport of boccia, before moving to canoeing, and training alongside non-disabled athletes.
"Today I am another person, I have better relationships with everyone else and I hope to keep canoeing and motivating people around me with my strength," she said.
Others who commented noted the problems disabled people had within their own societies. "I wish our people do not consider disabled athletes as "second class" citizens any more. They have tried to fight against their problems and limitations, and they are real champions indeed," Arash from Shiraz in Iran told BBC Persian.
"There is a stigma in the Arab world when discussing the plight of people with disability. In Morocco there is not the necessary infrastructure to support and accommodate the needs of people with disabilities. On the other hand in Europe, the disabled enjoy a life without discrimination with the forthcoming Paralympic Games being proof," Sarsah Jolol told BBC Arabic.
One respondent to BBC Ukraine, wheelchair dance competitor Valery Berezyuk, said coverage of the sport might be a powerful motivator for disabled people to take part in physical activity.
"We have many people who were injured and stay at home. It is quite difficult to engage them in some sport. Difficult not because it is physically difficult, but because these things are not covered by media and television properly.
"For a man who's sitting at home to see how it's happening, to know he will have enough strength to do it. Many people lose faith in themselves after injuries, and it's hard to engage them."Infrastructure issues
Others believed the benefits would seep into other aspects of society.
End Quote Karem Elngar
In Egypt there is a negative attitude to disabled people”
"Paralympics is a clear indication to disabled persons in Nigeria and Africa alike that they can something good with their lives better than begging," Babagana Ali told BBC Hausa. "It also challenges African leaders to assist people with disability because they can equally bring pride to their countries."
For some, the challenges facing Paralympic athletes had flagged up wider issues over sports funding and infrastructure problems.
"We are now talking about disabled people in sports, but in fact non-disabled athletes [in Russia] are facing similar problems. If you watch the news it's all the same in every town: no training facilities, no swimming pools - you name it. If the government is expecting medals without good infrastructure for athletes in general, what can you expect when it comes to sports for the disabled?" wrote Tatiana Elistratova.
"You could see there is no arrangement for the disability access in almost all buildings in Burma. It is a great obstacle for the person with disabilities to travel on public transport. Engineers should think of disability access when they design a building," Aung Kyaw Soe told BBC Burma.
Some believed the Paralympics, however, would not change deeply entrenched attitudes, despite the good intentions.
"In Egypt there is a negative attitude to disabled people. The Olympics has not helped to discredit this perception," BBC Arabic heard from Karem Elngar.