World champion paracyclist apologises for paralympics row

A BRITISH world champion paracycler has apologised after his comments criticising Paralympians from other sports caused controversy on the eve of the Games.

Jon-Allan Butterworth, one of the country’s top medal hopes at London 2012, accused some Team GB Paralympians outside cycling of “just having a laugh”.

Butterworth, the current C5 1km time trial world champion, lost his left arm in a rocket attack five years ago while serving as a weapons technician with the RAF in Iraq.

Butterworth said: “I was ill-informed and was not aware how hard the selection process is in athletics. The team ethos is important to me and I apologise if I have upset any of my fellow athletes. I’m sure they will have a successful Games as I hope the cyclists will. This is my first Paralympics and I am keen to do my talking on the track.”

Butterworth had earlier sparked the row by questioning Team GB colleagues, and the level of funding allocated to different sports, just days before tomorrow’s opening ceremony.

He said: “If you take yourself seriously as a professional athlete in Paralympic sport you need to act like a professional athlete. There are some sports which just have a laugh. I’m definitely critical of it because I work hard. Scrap all their funding, give it to cyclists and we’ll win double the medals we do already.”