By Duncan Mackay

London 2012 Paralympics generalJanuary 11 - Claims that there has been no significant increase in disability sport participation since London 2012 have been dismissed by the chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, Tim Hollingsworth.

Almost nine in ten sports clubs saw no change in the number of people with disabilities joining them in the months following the Paralympics, according to a new survey.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance, an umbrella organisation for governing and representative bodies in the UK, who commissioned the poll, said the figures showed clubs must "change and adapt" to maximise the interest created by London 2012.

But Hollingsworth hit back at the accuracy of the survey.

"We strongly disagree with this," he said.

"There is still a long way to go, but just four months on from the Games it's wrong to suggest nothing has changed."

Tim Hollingsworth next to Kate Middleton at London 2012Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, celebrating here at London 2012 next to the Duchess of Cambridge, has dismissed the results of the survey

According to the poll of 475 sports clubs, 86 per cent have noticed no change in the number of inquiries they have received from people with disabilities.

Although a total of 49 per cent of the UK's sports clubs have suitable facilities for people with disabilities to participate in their activity, 60 per cent do not have suitably trained staff and 61 per cent lack appropriate equipment, the survey said.

When looking at all three factors together, only 24 per cent have the suitable facilities, staff and equipment for people with disabilities to take part, it was claimed.

"After the most successful Paralympic Games ever which without doubt succeeded in its aim to inspire, our survey results suggest that this enthusiasm is yet to be felt so significantly at grassroots level," said Andy Reed, chairman of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

"If the interest generated by the Paralympics is to be maximised and translated into reality, an increased awareness and a willingness from clubs to change and adapt to cater more for disability sport is key.

"We all need to do our bit to create a more welcoming environment for disabled people in sport.

"After all, if their first experience at a club is a bad one, the chances are they won't return.

"We must not let this opportunity go untapped."

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