The “Dis-abled” debate

From one of the rare and refreshing pieces of writing from The Hindu, we hear of a debate which has been raging in the sports world for years but has only now taken a twist.

Oscar Pistorius is 20, brave and, perhaps, too fast for his own good. He is a double amputee, who runs on carbon fibre feet, and wants to run in Beijing. Not in the Paralympics where he is already a gold medallist. But in the Olympics. Like any other man.

IMHO (and the writer says the exact same thing), this is not a matter for debate at all. If sportspersons across the world can use better energy drinks, better cricket bats (remember the graphite bat that Ricky Ponting tried to use ?), better clothing and so forth, this instance should be no exception.

What makes the debate tricky (and, I feel, self-serving for the protectionists) is that we are talking about artificial limbs here. At this rate, the future could well bring upon us genetically coded superhumans ! Will that destroy the true spirit of sports ?

 This is a good debate to engage in if only to address the demons inside all of us. Ultimately, however, we need to remind ourselves that this young man would not have gotten to this stage without his enduring human spirit…with or without prosthetics..

 Soon, the IAAF will reveal whether Pistorius (who hasn’t qualified for Beijing yet) is eligible for the Olympics. But in a way it does not matter, for Pistorius is already the very ideal of the Olympian. Whatever the springiness of a carbon-fibre foot, it pales before the strength of this human’s spirit.


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