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“I’m good enough, why can’t I compete?” Tell @IPCAthletics #YesWeCan

This petition had 3,757 supporters

Athletes like me are being excluded from the Paralympics.

My name is Stephanie. I am a 100m and 200m runner. I have trained all my life to compete at the highest level in these sports. I also have a learning disability. Unfortunately, this means I am unable to compete in the disciplines I am strongest in.

Did you know that the Paralympics exclude people with a learning disability from over three quarters of sports?

Out of 23 sports at the Summer Paralympic games, athletes with a learning disability can only compete in 3; athletics, swimming and table tennis. Of these, you only have the chance to compete in just 9 events out of 60.

I have been an athlete since I was 15. I train 4/5 days a week and I compete about 3 or 4 times a month. I have tried re-training to compete for the 400m instead so I can achieve my goal of getting to the Paralympics. But, I have found this really difficult. It’s not just the racing, it’s the training as well. The sessions are a lot harder and trying to adjust to the different stages within the 400m has been hard.

There are 264 athletes going to Rio 2016 as part of Paralympics Team GB. Only 7 of them have a learning disability. That’s 3%.

I am really excited to watch the Paralympics and wish all the athletes, especially those in Team GB all the luck in the world. But, it is also frustrating that athletes like me are being excluded from the Paralympics and missing out on this incredible opportunity to show the world what we can do.

It’s too late for those athletes who have missed out in London and Rio but we can change things for the 2020 games and beyond. This is why I am calling on the International Paralympic Committee to bring about greater equality and give athletes with a learning disability the support and opportunities they deserve.

Please join me and Mencap in calling for change.

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