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Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Oscar Pistorius, “The Fastest Man Without Legs”, Sets His Sights on the Olympics

Oscar Pistorius

Blade Runner Controversy has once again erupted over Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius, as he defied all expectations by qualifying for the Olympics.

In 2008 the Court for Arbitration in Sport overturned the International Association of Athletics Federations‘ (IAAF) ruling that rendered him ineligible to compete in the Olympics, but unfortunately Pistorius failed to qualify for the sporting event that year.

Now, with Pistorius set to compete at the 2012 Olympics, he has once again sparked a debate in the sporting world about the “unfair” advantage of the carbon-fibre blades this double amputee uses to run. Tim Lewis spoke to various athletes and sport commentators about their views on the topic, with most coming out in full support of Pistorius:

Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius rose slowly from the starting blocks, like a middle-aged man with a dodgy back getting out of an armchair. As the athletes rounded the first bend in the 400m event at Lignano in Italy earlier this month, he was last. But down the back straight his powerful arms began to pump, his legs appeared to slice through the air and he maintained his speed through the final bend. Now he was leading the race and bombing down the finishing straight. He crossed the line and sneaked a look at the clock – 45.04 seconds, eventually rounded up to 45.07 – before bear-hugging one of the other runners and falling to the track laughing.

Pistorius, 24, who is South African, had not broken the world record – he was almost two seconds off Michael Johnson’s 1999 mark – but he achieved something almost as significant on that balmy evening of 19 July. He had passed the qualifying standard that will allow him, if selected by his country, to race alongside the best able-bodied athletes at next month’s world championships and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. And he didn’t just scrape through. If he had run that time in the 400m final in Beijing in 2008, he would have finished fifth; he would have done even better at the 2009 world championships, placing fourth.

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Photo courtesy The Telegraph

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Jenny Hobbs’ Latest Novel: Kitchen Boy, this March from Umuzi

Kitchen Boy

Watch out for Kitchen Boy from Jenny Hobbs this March!

Luck matters. Life is chancy. An oval ball can bounce any way.

Springbok legend, celebrated war hero, thriving businessman – that was JJ Kitching, known to all as Kitchen Boy. His was a life as large as a sports stadium, as thrilling as an escape from a burning war plane. But now he lies dead in his coffin in a Durban cathedral.

Funeral goers remember a glowing Natal childhood and the thunder of the rugby field, but also reveal lives lived on the sidelines and Kitching’s heavy war secret.

Kitchen Boy is a novel about losses and victories, about justice and reconciliation in a tough world of tackles and tries.

About the author

Jenny Hobbs is a novelist and freelance journalist. She reviewed books for many years and has also written for radio and worked on TV book programmes as compiler, organiser, presenter and interviewer. She is the author of Thoughts in a Makeshift Mortuary, The Sweet-Smelling Jasmine and The Telling of Angus Quain. She lives in Franschhoek, and is the co-founder of the Franschoek Literary Festival.

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Coovadia Classic: Land of the Vuvuzelas, Loud and Proud in 2010


High Low In-betweenWriting for n+1 during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Imraan Coovadia shares his thoughts on South Africa, land of the vuvuzela – and the cliché. It’s a Coovadia classic! Take a break and cast your thoughts back to June:

The vuvuzela is the symbol of the 2010 World Cup. It’s a one metre plastic trumpet, something like the Brazilian corneta, really loud and raucous. At its best a vuvuzela sounds like a fog horn.

Everyone has a vuvuzela. In their tens of thousands, in the beautiful new soccer stadiums, they have the sonic effect of massed rocket launchers, deafening foreign players and commentators. The locals are already deaf. You also hear vuvuzelas blown on the streets everywhere in Cape Town, and in houses, in hotel rooms, on the upper floor balconies of the bars on Long Street as the procession of fans goes by every evening. On the unfinished section of highway bridge near the water, Hyundai, the car company, has rigged up a 114 foot long vuvuzela. When a goal is scored the giant horn will be electronically triggered.

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Image courtesy n +1 magazine

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Podcast: the BBC Interviews Oscar Pistorius

Blade RunnerOSCARWhen, as a teenager, Oscar Pistorius was caught sneaking into a girls’ school, his punishment was two months’ ballet classes with the very same girls – which must have been quite a challenge for the budding young athlete, bending into a plié on prosthetic legs!

He calls himself “other-abled” or “differently abled” rather than “disabled”, with good reason: Pistorius has single-handedly (or double-prosthetic-leggedly?) changed athletics, by challenging to compete in standard IAAF events, including the Olympics. It’s been a see-saw affair, with scientists lining up on both sides of the issue, some saying Pistorius gains no advantage from his famous “blades”, other saying his advantage must rule him out (in a very ironic twist) of non-disabled sports.

In this wide-ranging podcast interview with the BBC, Pistorius talks about all aspects of his life, including the latest opinions on his blades. Get to know this mature and personable young athlete:

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