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.
Photo courtesy The Telegraph
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