Pascoe calls for scrapping of disabled award

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
Sophie Pascoe
Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.co.nz
CHANGE NEEDED: Sophie Pascoe has called for the scrapping of the Halberg Award for disabled athletes.

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The Halberg Trust is coming under increasing pressure to revamp their annual New Zealand sports awards with swimmer Sophie Pascoe calling for disabled athletes to be integrated into the main sportsman and sportswoman of the year categories.

A year ago, Paralympic swimmer Cameron Leslie revealed some disabled athletes referred to the category as "the Token Gimp Award", and now Pascoe, the poster-girl for disabled sport in New Zealand has spoken out too.

"I'd like to obviously see this award go back into the sportsman and sportswoman categories," Pascoe said.

"At this stage it's not going to happen overnight, but it will happen from us disabled athletes proving what we can do.

Pascoe, who has won the disabled award at the Halberg's for the last three years, said she was proud to be the figurehead for disabled sport in New Zealand.

"I'm a proud New Zealander and I represent Paralympics New Zealand. I love what I do and I do it because I love it. The passion is unbelievable in every race I do.

"I have the ambition to change things outside the pool too."

Pascoe said to change the Halberg structure, she expects it won't be happening soon.

"It's going to take time and it's going to take a lot of support," she said.

"But, it will happen."

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