Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee sprinter to compete at a World Championships against able-bodied rivals later this month but the South African accepts there will always be voices saying his carbon-fibre prosthetic blades give him an advantage.
Far from getting him down, however, the doubters spur him on and fuel his desire to reach greater heights.
The 24-year-old double amputee, nicknamed “Blade Runner,” has been selected to run in the 400 metres and 4 x 400m relay in Daegu, South Korea after smashing his personal best last month to meet the qualifying time.
That success was the fruition of two and a half years of hard training, he said.
However, a leading South African sports scientist Dr Ross Tucker said allowing him to run at the World Championships was a “farce”. “I don’t like being called, in essence, a cheat, when I know how hard I work,” Pistorius said. “99 percent of people do know what the facts are and I can’t be bothered with the one percent that don't.”
Bolt leads the way
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, leads a powerful group of Jamaican sprinters into the World Athletics Championships but a repeat doping positive by Steve Mullings cast a steroid shadow over the squad.
Bolt, the reigning world and Olympic double sprint champion, has lost only twice in his professional career and will be favourite to defend his 100 and 200m crowns in South Korea, and seal the same status for the 2012 London Olympics.
If Mullings’ “B” sample is also positive, it could bring a life ban for the 28-year-old training partner of injured US star Tyson Gay, who will not compete in Daegu.
Not even frostbite can keep Gatlin away
Not even a bizarre case of frostbite will prevent Justin Gatlin from lining up at the world championships. Gatlin developed the condition recently in steamy Florida!
“There is a cryo (cryotherapy) chamber (where he trains) and I went in there on a hot day and had socks on and the socks were wet from sweat... but for some reason the socks froze to my ankles. It felt like my feet were on fire.... and it hurt to walk”, Gatlin said of the frostbite. reuters