13 Feb 2013

Disabled sportsperson award to be reviewed

1:58 pm on 13 February 2013

The head of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation has defended the sports awards against a criticism of tokenism.

On Thursday, the achievements of New Zealand athletes will be celebrated at the 50th Halberg Awards, at Vector Arena in Auckland.

A Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award has been included in the honours since last year.

Paralympian swimmer Cameron Leslie, who is nominated for the award, said it is known as the 'token gimp award' within the disabled sporting community.

Foundation chief executive Geoff Burgess told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the award has helped recognise disabled athletes.

Mr Burgess said it would, however, be reviewed this year. "We'll make sure that, after these awards, we canvass opinion and ensure that we have an award that will fit the purpose."

Leslie is not convinced a review will make a difference, and wants disabled athletes to be judged alongside their able bodied contemporaries instead of being grouped into a separate category.