The Blade Runner

Last Sunday in Sheffield at the Norwich Union Super Grand Prix, I came face to face with the Blade Runner - South Africa paralympic star and double amputee Oscar Pistorius.

Chatting with him you get a feeling of his passion to live his life to the fullest. A simple and very polite guy.

I just wondered why so many people especially the arrogant British press refused to give this brave guy a chance to achieve the best he could ever be.

Why they are so self preserving and so worried that this guy, born without fibulae in both legs due to a congenital condition, would one day beat their underachieving able-bodied athletes.

Is it petty jealousy? or maybe overzealous xenophobia? The BBC also describes him as angry.

I was at the mixed zone after his 400m race, when one disillusioned gentleman who works for UK Athletics gleefully announced the blade runner had been disqualified for running out of his lane in the 400m claiming "now he has nothing to prove".

Looking back at all the fuzz made before the race especially by the tabloids and the tabloidised BBC 606, one cannot but wonder why there was so much attack on the poor guy.

One commentator on BBC 606 known as funkymonkey79 confidently said "his prosthetics must surely give him a advantage other able bodied atheletes" without any valid proof, scientific research findings or otherwise.

The only sensible post i could see from the whole lot - all 148 of them- was by a guy known as vertigo_timbo who seemed to realise what the original idea of sport was.

He wrote: "the best stories are always a triumph over disaster, the whole idea of the olympics is it's supposed to encourage our kids to take something up and all the multiple benefits this brings. This guy is a real role model for all people not the david beckhams of this world."

I am appalled at today's commercialisation of the sport to the extent people will now do anything to win. That's why people use drugs and cheat. The essence of sport should be to participate and give your best, what follows, triumph or defeat should be secondary.

I am sure the father's of the modern Olympics would also be appalled at what the sport has now become, that in 2007 we are here debating whether a disable athlete should or should not compete at the Olympics if he is brave enough to want to.

Former British Olympian, Steve Cram is not sure Oscar fully appreciates the efforts that have been made on his behalf by the IAAF for allowing him to race against able-bodied athletes while proper scientific research into his blades is carried out.

Cram says, "I also think there's a lot of goodwill for him from other athletes, some of whom were kept out of the races he competed in at the weekend".

Sorry, Mr Cram, Pistorius only occupied a lane - Lane 9 - which is not always available on all the tracks. In any case, there is no reason why the organisers cannot organise a B race for their home athletes like it is done in some other Grand Prix meets.

I also do not think the other athletes really mind and were quite supportive because i also spoke with Australian John Steffensen and American Angelo Taylor.

Should Oscar Pistorius be allowed to compete with able-bodied athletes at the Olympics or not? lets have your view.

African Athletics News


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