Paralympics will need spectators

A top Paralympics official said on Saturday that filling Athens stadiums at the 2004 Paralympics and changing public attitudes toward the disabled are his priorities. «My main concerns really for the Games are related to awareness primarily of the population of Athens… with regard to them coming to the games as spectators,» said Phil Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee. Craven is here for a three-day IPC executive committee meeting, and was updated on preparations for next year’s Paralympics. He urged authorities to make Athens more accessible, not only for athletes but for disabled Greeks as well. «We have to see a change in the movers and shakers of this society and then I firmly believe from speaking to the Greek public that they are ready for this additional education,» Craven said. Athens currently has few provisions for the disabled, but the Paralympics – which will be held about three weeks after the Olympics – have spurred the government into passing laws that make public areas and buildings more accessible. (AP)