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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oscar Pistorius beats Arabian horse - Maserati

There are many legends about Arabian horses. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. They are part of many myths and legends too.

He proudly proclaims “You are not disabled by your disabilities, but able by your abilities.”  He is no stranger to fame ~ People call him all kinds of things: disabled, differently abled, an inspiration, an egotist, some even say that he enjoys an unfair advantage over others !!! He is a champion in his own right.  He has redefined many of the myths surrounding running and himself especially since the day he ran 45.07sec over 400m, making him the 18th fastest man over one lap of track in the year and got the "A" qualifying standard for the world championships; some who could not digest his feat  saw him not as "disabled" but "too-abled" because of the blades he wears.

The man known as blade runner became the  first ever 'differently-abled' athlete to compete using prosthetics running blades in the 2012 Olympic Games, simultaneously making history and raising the debate over fairness and equality to a whole new platform. 

A fierce advocate of Life Without Limitations and a bilateral amputee, he is the first ever Paralympian to win a Gold in each of the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints (Beijing 2008). 

He for sure is a phenomenon – a world record holder in his category for the three top sprint events, setting a brand new record for the 400m in May 2011 at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, UK. Then, in July 2011, he made history in Italy with a personal best of 45.07 seconds for the men's 400m, a result that saw him qualify for the South African national team and, another first, the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea (Aug 2011). Here he qualified for the Men´s 400m semi-finals, competing against non-disabled athletes.

That is Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius from South Africa, a sprint runner. Pistorius, who has double below-knee amputations, competes in T44 (single below knee amputees) events though he is actually classified in T43(double below knee amputee)  Although eligible to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men's 400 metres race and was part of South Africa's 4 × 400 metres relay team. He also took part in the 2012 Summer Paralympics and  won gold medals in the men's 400 metre race in a Paralympic record time of 46.68 seconds and in the 4 × 100 metres relay in a world record time of 41.78 seconds. He also took a silver in the 200 metres race, having set a world record of 21.30 seconds in the semifinal.

Now he garnered more attention for his race against Arabian stud Maserati in Doha... and  winning.  Oscar Pistorius has never baulked at a challenge; still this was of a different kind.  Pistorius  outran the Arabian stud over 115metres in the ‘Run Like The Wind’ challenge at the Aspire Zone outdoor circuit. The sprinter, who was born without the fibula bones in both legs, was taking part in the Definitely Able campaign to highlight how Paralympians have contributed in sport.

Pistorius took advantage of his head start to open up a commanding lead over the horse, Maserati.  After the race, Pistorius said: 'It wasnt about who won today, it was about just coming out here and showing people that those with disabilities are not to be stereotyped against.  The race was not the first time athletes have competed against horses with some of the most notable champions such as 1936 Olympics hero Jesse Owens and 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist Linford Christie also going up against their four-legged friends, who generally out-paced their human rivals.

Even as the World hails it, some  questions have been raised as to whether it was really a fair race, as Pistorius was given a 15m head start and the horse was visibly restrained by his rider.  The South African SPCA is reportedly outraged at the treatment of the horse, which it says was “unnecessarily and cruelly whipped from start to finish.”

Pistorius also said in Doha that he will run for five more years and then change tack to help raise awareness about landmine victims across the world.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Dec 2012.

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