For Immediate Release
August 12, 2013
CONCORD - Calling the decision unfair and against the values the organization aims to promote, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to the International Paralympic Committee objecting to the committee's ruling that Victoria Arlen of Exeter is ineligible to participate in the International Paralympic Committee World Swimming Championships in Montreal, Canada.
"Denying Victoria the opportunity to compete in an event for which she has trained diligently, and at the last possible moment, is unconscionable and patently unfair,"Governor Hassan wrote. "Victoria is precisely the type of athlete the International Paralympic Committee should be working to promote and support, a shining example that a world of opportunity exists for all those living with a disability.
"Moreover, the basis for ruling Victoria ineligible - the possibility that she might one day be able to resume use of her legs – is nothing short of disgraceful, undermining the very values of courage, inspiration, determination and equality that the International Paralympic Committee aims to promote," the Governor continued.
"None of us knows what the future of medical science holds. Each day, new cures and treatments are being developed to address a wide range of conditions. There may come a day when paralysis is a thing of the past, and as a society we should aspire to achieve that goal, while ensuring that those who experience disabilities today are able to experience the high quality of life they deserve. To deny Victoria the opportunity to compete based on the hope of a future cure is to deny every Paralympian the ability to aspire to whatever goals and dreams they might choose."
New Hampshire's United States Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte have also written to the International Paralympic Committee expressing their disappointment with the decision.
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