Michael Laws 'wrong in so many ways'

By APN News & Media

Paralympic gold medallist Adam Hall has hit back at claims by shock jock Michael Laws that disability sports are "ludicrous" and shouldn't be recognised alongside able-bodied pursuits.
Laws said it was "crazy" that paralympians were eligible for Halberg Awards.
"If you have had your legs chopped off, you shouldn't be in there at all," he said during his RadioLive talkback show on Friday. He later added: "The fact that that guy was able to fall down, get up again and still win, shows that really there wasn't a hell of a lot of competition in his field was there?"
Slalom skier Hall, who was born with spina bifida, captured the imagination of the New Zealand sporting public when he picked himself up to win at the Vancouver Paralympics last year.
He said Laws' remarks showed his ignorance of competitive sport.
"To say that I had no competition is just wrong in so many ways. He has no knowledge of anything to do with the sport. It's discrimination," Hall said from his training base in Colorado, United States.
"Paralympian athletes work just as hard as any Olympic athlete or able-bodied athlete."
Hall, a 2009 and 2010 Halberg Sportsman of the Year nominee, said he trained for up to 15 hours a day to prepare for the Paralympics.
"He has absolutely no idea of the amount of training that we do and what it takes to be a Paralympic champion."
Hall, who recently returned to fulltime training after his mother died in a car accident last year, was given his first snowboard at the age of 9 by the Halberg Trust.
"If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't be where I am today."
When contacted at the weekend, Laws said: "I said you are a scumbag, you are a scumbag."
During a wide-ranging verbal assault on disabled people, Laws said giving the overall Halberg Award to the All Whites made it "like the disabled sports award".

Referring to a story on Thursday night's One News bulletin, he said: "It was like dyslexic people from a special education class who have been allowed to twiddle knobs."
Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand Chair of Trustees Guy Pope-Mayell said: "I think most people would be aware Michael Laws fancies himself as some sort of agent provocateur, but his comments are sadly ill-informed and in poor taste.
"It seems Michael Laws' prejudices are again showing, and this is just another in a long line of ill-advised outbursts."
RadioWorks group programme director Jana Rangooni said the station had not received any complaints about Friday's show.
"I heard most of the show which was, as ever, pretty provocative talkback that covered the diverse views on the All Whites win at the Halbergs."
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- Bay of Plenty Times

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