Iain Hepburn | December 13, 2012
It’s that age old question. Four legs or two – which is better in a race? Well, thanks to the Blade Runner, now we know the answer.
South African runner Oscar Pistorius, who became the first disabled runner to compete in the Olympics when he ran in London this summer, defeated Arabian horse Maserati in a race in Doha last night.
The South African, who followed up his appearance at the London Olympics by retaining his 400m title in the Paralympics, competed on a regular athletics track while the horse competed on a sand surface running alongside it.
The 26-year-old, who was running to promote disabled sportspeople in the Arabian Gulf, had a 15m advantage, and capitalized on that after Maserati made a slow start for their race at the Aspire Zone outdoor circuit.
Over the course of the 200m dash, Pistorius claimed bragging rights despite Maserati making up lost ground towards the end.
“It wasn’t about who won tonight,” said Pistorius after crossing the line.
“It was about showing people that those with disabilities are capable of doing great things.
“It was a lot of fun. Hopefully this will do a lot to change perceptions of disabled people in the region.”
Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner because of the carbon fibre prosthetics he runs on. He had his legs amputated below the knee before he was aged one because of a congenital condition.
It’s not the first time prime athletes have had a crack at defeating their four-legged friends, of course.
1936 Olympics hero Jesse Owens used to race against horses over 100m, while 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist Linford Christie also going up against their four-legged friends, who generally out-paced their human rivals.