By Tom Degun

Mike Kenny_4_SeptSeptember 6 - Mike Kenny, Britain's most decorated Paralympian, feels his achievements have been "airbrushed", despite winning 16 gold medals and two silvers in swimming, and revealed he is not attending London 2012 because he cannot afford the trip from his Greater Manchester home.

The 67-year-old (pictured top), who took up swimming as part of his rehabilitation after damaging his spine in 1971, competed in four consecutive Paralympic Games from Toronto 1976 to Seoul 1988 and claimed numerous world records in his glittering career.

But Kenny has often been overlooked in the debate to name Britain's greatest Paralympian, with the vast majority of media outlets and the public affording either wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, 43, or swimmer Dave Roberts, 32 (pictured below), the title.

The duo, both from Wales, have 11 Paralympic gold medals each – but that is five fewer than Kenny's tally.

"Everyone says 'You've been airbrushed out and nobody knows who you are'," admitted Kenny.

"Or 'If you have the most gold medals surely there's a slot for you to be fitted in?'

"Other people say 'You should be Sir Mike Kenny'.

"But that's not to do with me – that's up to the powers that be."

Dave Roberts_4_Sept
He added poignantly : "A lot of people have asked why I could not present a medal to someone.

"Well, I was invited to light the Flame at Stoke Mandeville but could not afford the round trip."

Kenny, who attended York University and shared a room with now International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven, said that, despite his frustration at being overlooked, he is enjoying watching the London 2012 Paralympics on television and is delighted at how far the Games has progressed since he competed.

"I look today and I'm amazed at the facilities they've got – it's marvellous what has happened to the Paralympics over the years," he told BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.

"They're the best thing since sliced bread."

Kenny expanded on why he thought the Games had become so successful.

"I think the funding makes it now," he said.

"[In my time] We did not have physios or trainers.

"My wife stood at the poolside and clicked the clock – that was my trainer!"

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