Athletics: Commonwealth Games 1994: Australian official's own goal on disabled

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ARTHUR TUNSTALL, the Australian who was appointed vice- president of the Commonwealth Games Federation on Tuesday, has criticised the inclusion of disabled athletes in the Games.

'I do not believe that they should be integrated with the Commonwealth Games,' said Tunstall, who is also the Australian Commonwealth Games Association secretary and treasurer. 'I can tell you it's an embarrassment for those people and for the athletes in the village.'

At a hastily convened news conference early yesterday morning, Ian Hanson, the Australian team spokesman, said Tunstall's comments had been misconstrued.

'When Mr Tunstall used the word 'embarrassment' it was not in any sense intended as a reference to the physical disability of the athletes, but rather it was intended as a reference to the inadequate way in which their sports will be presented or showcased during these Games,' Hanson said.

It is the first time that disabled athletes will compete as members of their national teams at the Commonwealth Games.