Paralympic committee seeks attitude adjustments in Greece
KAVOURI, Greece (AP) - Besides costly projects to make Athens more accessible to disabled people, attitudes in Greece must also change about the needs of those blocked by ordinary barriers, the president of the paralympic committee said Tuesday.

"There are some very good pavements in the city of Athens, but then we see that the edge of the pavement hasn't got a ramp and then we find people parking across the ramp," said Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee. "We have to change attitudes as well."

Craven, attending a two-day conference on the 2004 Paralympics in the seaside suburb of Kavouri, lauded an estimated $255-million (U.S.) program to install ramps, smooth sidewalks and make other changes in Athens. But he said "a lot of small works have to be done" in Athens and around Greece.

"It's no good to have a beautiful pavement if it dead ends in a drop of half a metre," he said.

For years, construction codes for private and public buildings in Greece had no provisions for the disabled. The 2004 Paralympics - to be held about three weeks after the Olympic Games - forced the government to make significant changes to the laws.

Ioannis Spanudakis, the general manager of the 2004 organizers, said the accessibility effort should not end after the Games.

"Going forward also means making the public aware of issues concerning disabled people," he said.

Evangelos Venizelos, the culture minister and a top official involved in the 2004 preparations, said the Paralympics are perhaps ``even more important" than the Olympics "because they have to do with a category of our co-citizens who struggle much more to have results and because the adjustment of the country for the Paralympic Games is one of the most important legacies."

The sale of items with the 2004 Paralympic logo went on sale Monday.


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