Go to contents

Disabled S.African runner just wants to be treated the same

Disabled S.African runner just wants to be treated the same

Posted August. 26, 2011 03:57,   


“Thank you for your great attention and love. But please, from now on, see me as Pistorius, not as a handicapped sprinter.”

So said Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner who seemed to tell a story that he had kept for a long time as was felt in his strong voice. He has always smiled when meeting journalists since his arrival in Korea, so it was all the more impressive.

The sprinter shared his impression of Korea over the past week at a cafe near the athletes’ village of the IAAF World Championships of Athletics Daegu Thursday in his first interview since arriving in Daegu.

Pistorius is the first disabled athlete to pass the “A” standard qualifying time of 45.25 seconds at the IAAF World Championship. Born without a fibula in both legs, he runs with carbon fabric-prosthetic legs.

Since his artificial legs look like blades, his nickname is “blade runner.”

He first thanked Korean fans. He left a message to Dong-A Ilbo readers that he is grateful for all of the support, saying, “It is a privilege for me to join the prestigious IAAF World Championship Daegu, and, in addition, I am happy to be loved a lot by Korean fans.”

His bright smile and friendly demeanor are popular among Korean journalists. He looked untainted despite his disability.

He agreed to an unscheduled interview Thursday when he practiced on the track for the first time since his arrival. The South African team declined an interview to protect its athletes, but he agreed to talk when he saw many reporters.

In contrast, certain stars declined requests for official interviews at the airport and hurriedly headed for the athletes village.

Pistorius looked comfortable as he ordered a cafe latte at a cafe near the athletes village. He looked naive as a young man in his 20s when he whispered to his team manager.

When the South African started talking, however, he said, “I`m a little uncomfortable with too much attention. If that attention is on my disability, then I`d rather not accept it. I`m human just like other athletes.”

He probably felt uncomfortable because of his prosthetic legs, which have drawn controversy even after he came to Korea. He said, “I read a posting that my record got better this season because I changed my prosthetic legs. I was very upset about hearing this. I haven`t changed my artificial legs for seven years.”

The runner will compete in the 1,600-meter relay as well as the 400 meters. He said on a positive note, “I don’t care about the order. It`ll be an honorable memory for me.”

Pistorius will show his bright smile on the pre-qualifying round of the men’s 400 meters at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.