The world of athletics currently has two undisputable global stars. The fastest man on the planet Usain Bolt, and the fastest man on no legs – Oscar Pistorius, writes Keme Nzerem.
Usain is running for redemption tonight. After his 100m shocker, his size 12 feet were planted firmly on the blocks in the 200m heats and semi’s until well after the rest of the field had bolted.
He still won with consummate ease, easing down for the last 50m with a trademark check across his shoulders. The pattern was repeated at the 200m semi finals, with Bolt barely jogging across the finish line.
He knew he’d done more than enough to make tomorrow’s final.
After the race, when asked if he’d got over his disappointment Bolt answered “does it look like it?”
“For me it’s all business, it’s a job – you win some you lose some.
“I made a mistake and I gotta move on past that.”
But Oscar Pistorius is now stuck in the locker room. He became the first paralympian to qualify for an athletics world championships medal position yesterday – setting off first for South Africa in the 4 x 400m heats.
But this morning he tweeted that he’d been dropped for the final and was “gutted“.
The South Africans are yet to explain themselves but there are two legitimate reasons. Firstly, the weather here in South Korea has changed. This morning pregnant clouds scudded Daegu’s mountainous horizon.
There are some who still claim the amputee’s artificial legs confer an advantage over his able bodied opponents. But in rain or wind his blades can slip and slides like ice skates.
‘He tweeted that he’d been dropped for the final and was “gutted”‘
Secondly, having helped South Africa to qualify for the final, should they make the podium, Pistorius is assured of a medal too. And if South Africa want to see their flag raised after tonight’s final, they want to field their strongest possible team.
However athletics’ governing body has ruled the “blade runner” can only compete in the opening leg, while his opponents are still confined to their lanes. So South Africa have a problem.
Pistorius is never quick from his blocks – he comes into his own on the home straight, once he’s settled into his stride. There’s little doubt he’d make the team if he was allowed to run another position. The handover zone would give him a golden 10 metre opportunity to get those blades swishing.
But the 4 x 400 is a team event – and South Africa may well have taken the strategic decision that their superstar’s work has been more than done.