London 2012: Channel 4 to raise Paralympic profile

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The Independent Online

Channel 4 is determined to make "household names" of Britain's Paralympians in the build-up to the London 2012 Games. The new Paralympic broadcaster yesterday unveiled ambitious plans to raise the profile of the likes of Eleanor Simmonds, double gold medallist in Beijing at the age of 13, and David Roberts, who has won 11 Paralympic gold medal.

The channel outbid the BBC, which has shown the Games since 1980, for the rights and will show 150 hours of live events. But before that it is planning a series of programmes to bring the athletes and their sports to a wider audience, beginning later this month.

"We will make London 2012 Paralympics the most watched, the most talked about Games ever," said Julian Bellamy, Channel 4's acting chief creative officer. "There is a big job to do. Research shows that 84 per cent of the British public couldn't name a single British Paralympian. So we are going to spend the next two years trying to radically change that lack of awareness."