Paralympic Heroes Hit Out At Honours List

Paralympic Heroes Hit Out At Honours List

Leading Paralympians have criticised the New Year honours system, claiming it is easier for able-bodied athletes to get knighthoods.

Cyclist Sarah Storey was the only Paralympic athlete among the knights and dames, despite many racking up more gold medals than Bradley Wiggins or Ben Ainslie, the Olympians given top awards in this year's list.

Dressage rider Lee Pearson, who has won 13 medals including 10 golds at four Games, was one of two Paralympians to get OBEs in the list, which was published on Saturday.

He told the Independent: "Obviously, 10 gold, one silver and one bronze just isn't enough.

"I'm disappointed because I do feel I've given a lot to Paralympic sport and equestrianism. I think 10 gold medals is quite an achievement."

Wheelchair racer and six-time gold medal winner David Weir suggested Paralympians have to work harder to earn recognition than their non-disabled counterparts.

Weir, who was the only disabled athlete among five CBEs in the list, told the Telegraph: "Kelly Holmes was made a Dame when she won two gold medals, but it seems we have to get into double figures to get it.

"Sarah Storey should have been awarded this years ago, and I just feel that sometimes we are left out perhaps because we are not in the public eye.

"It is a bit strange, but I am just honoured to get anything from the Queen for doing a sport I love."

The list was drawn up by the Sports Honours Committee, which is chaired by Lord Coe and includes the former Paralympic athlete baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.