Beijing Olympic organisers apologise for offending disabled athletes

June 2nd, 2008 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 2 (DPA) China’s Olympic Games organisers Monday apologised over a volunteer’s guide book for the Paralympics in September which was deemed offensive to disabled athletes and spectators. “We would like to express our deepest apologies to those organisations, athletes with disabilities and friends who were offended by our publication,” a statement by the organising committee said.

The committee said the guide, which had been met with foreign and domestic criticism, would be withdrawn and rewritten.

The 200-page guide was to help 30,000 volunteers understand how to deal with disabled athletes and spectators at the September 6-17 event.

It described disabled people as “a special group” with “unique personalities and ways of thinking.”

Physically disabled people “are often mentally healthy” but “might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability,” it said.

It went on to describe some disabled people as “isolated, unsocial and introspective” who “can be stubborn and controlling”, may be “sensitive and struggle with trust issues,” and “sometimes they are overly protective of themselves…”

Optically disabled were meanwhile often “introverted”, had “deep and implicit feelings and seldom show strong emotions,” the guidebook says.

Volunteers were instructed not to call Paralympians or disabled spectators “crippled” or “paralysed”, even if they were “just joking.”

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