“Coaching runners outside and inside the fence“
At the Olympic Games in 1960, there was a spectacular moment that dazzled the entire world...beyond the fact that a barefooted athlete won the Marathon. Abebe Bikila’s (Ethiopia) victory was the spark that opened and expanded the Games to Africa....Since that pivotal moment, Bikila established the African hegemony in the middle distance and long distance athletic events at the Olympic Games.
Bikila won in 1960 and 1964 Olympic Marathon
At the Paralympic Games there are many events where the athletes are grouped by categories ranging from the most severe disabilities, for example total blind athletes, to milder disabilities, those with visual impairments.
In the racing wheelchair events, there are severe athletes with Spinal cord Injuries (C5-C6) who need help to transfer to their racing chair, put on gloves, and so forth, because they have no control over their sphincters, thermoregulation (no sweat), and a paralyzed body from the neck down. By contrast there are other categories for athletes with lower levels of spinal cord injuries who are fully capable of doing all of these tasks and have total independence in their daily life activities.
The phenomenon that Bikila protagonized in 1960 by opening the door of opportunity for myriads of athletes with serious economic problems to participate, steeply contrasts with the door that has been shut closed for elite athletes with severe disabilities, those who are totally blind and quadriplegic wheelchair racers, and who will not be allowed to participate in the Marathon at the Paralympic Games and specifically in many track and field program. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is called DISCRIMINATION.
It is imperative that this ridiculous decision not be repeated. Therefore, I firmly demand that those who are responsible for hindering the participation of the elite athletes with severe disabilities make way for progressive leaders with a much more productive perspective, and open the sport to all elite athletes with disabilities, without discriminating against those who have severe disabilities. This is the true hallmark of the Paralympics Games…which has lost its purpose.
The Games of Shame have began
It seems surreal that at this moment as the Olympic Games in the Track and Field competitions are beginning to welcome athletes with disabilities, such as with the case of Oscar Pistorius, who uses prothesis, the Paralympic Committee is DISCRIMINATING against the elite athletes with severe disabilities.
SANTIAGO SANZ @santirun
(Professional wheelchair athlete)
Sports Sciences Degree
Physiological Parameters Researcher
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