Paralympians launched a scathing attack on the Con-Dems' planned cuts to disability benefits on Monday with campaigners warning that it was the Games' own sponsor carrying out the orders.
Eleven-times gold medallist Lady Tanni Grey Thompson became the most high-profile Paralympian to protest against the government slashing disability living allowance, telling the Guardian that many athletes depended on it.
The cuts would affect everyone with disabilities, she said, as they inevitably meant higher living costs.
Current plans would see the allowance of between £20 and £131.50 a week scrapped and replaced with a means-tested personal independence payment from next year.
Disability campaigners have warned as many as half a million people will lose their entitlements under the payment's more narrow criteria.
Ms Grey-Thompson said that included athletes too - and not everyone could call up a corporate sponsor.
"I know someone who is on the edge of qualification who has had her DLA removed.
"It impacts on her ability to get involved in society, not just sport," she said.
Other Paralympians joined the chorus. Blind rower Alan Crowther said cutting his own allowance would leave him "sat in the house unable to go anywhere," while gold medallist and sportscaster Ade Adepitan said he simply could not have pursued his career in wheelchair basketball without it.
But grassroots activists refused to let the Games' corporate sponsor Atos off the hook. The government contractor has faced accusations of hypocrisy and profiteering in light of its controversial testing of disability benefits.
The £100m-a-year scheme sees the company assess beneficiaries' activity using a computerised points-based programme, with those awarded less than 15 points automatically deemed "fit for work" and stripped of their incapacity benefit.
Trials late last year saw a 70 per cent drop in full benefits and a 30 per cent drop in "unfit for work" assessments.
Disabled People Against Cuts spokeswoman Linda Burnip told the Morning Star she welcomed Ms Grey-Thompson's comments, but many athletes were naturally reluctant to criticise a corporate sponsor like Atos.
"It's really difficult because the paralympians work really hard to do what they can to be involved," she said.
But the situation was a catch-22, she said. "The sponsorship is a real disincentive."
The Paralympics is due to begin at the end of August.
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