By Tom Degun

Australia marching in opening ceremony London 2012February 19 - The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) appear to have become more marketable following London 2012 with new research suggesting that three out of four people in the country believe companies will become more appealing if they sponsor the organisation and the country's top disabled athletes.

According to survey conducted by Woolcott Research, 74 per cent of Australians say they now see the APC's sponsors in a more positive light following London 2012, with 57 per cent believing they are more likely to consider buying their product or service due to their support of the Paralympic Movement.

The positive figures come as the APC embarks on a major drive to secure sponsorship for the next four years leading into Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

"What we've seen from this research is that Australians are more interested and engaged in the Paralympics than ever before," said APC chief executive Jason Hellwig.

"People feel a connection to the athletes, which was reflected in the research that found 87 per cent found them to be inspirational.

"They want to share in their success."

The research also revealed that 50 per cent of Australians believe there was ample media coverage of the Games, while the other 50 per cent want to see more.

More than half tuned into ABC's television coverage of the Games, which was the most extensive ever in Australia, as the country finished sixth on the medal table with 85 medals, 32 of which were gold.

Three out of four Australians found the Games entertaining, with 91 per cent believing Paralympians are powerful role models.

Hellwig, who was also Australia's Chef de Mission at London 2012, said swimming was unsurprisingly named the most popular sport with audiences.

Jacqueline Freney 2Australian swimmer Jacqueline Freney proved the most successful athlete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as she stormed to eight gold medals

Australia finished second on the Paralympic swimming medal table behind China with 37 medals, 18 of which were gold.

Eight of those gold medals were won by Jacqueline Freney, who proved the most successful athlete of the entire Games.

"I think we can see a clear correlation here between audience numbers and medals won," Hellwig said.

"The swim team in London were unstoppable and won 18 gold medals.

"But overall, the growth of the Paralympics continues unabated.

"Almost half of the people surveyed said their interest in the Paralympic Games had increased since Beijing, which is staggering.

"What we've found through this research and anecdotally, is that more and more Australians want to see more and more Paralympic sport.

"Obtaining corporate sponsorship is key to our ability to send teams to the Paralympic Games in the best possible condition; bring more Paralympic sport to Australia and continue to build on the momentum created from London."

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