In­cred­i­ble run by par­a­lympians

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN Ab­del­latif Baka, Tamiru De­misse, Henry Kirwa and Fouad Baka crossed the 1,500m fin­ish line at the Rio Paralympics, their time stunned ev­ery­one.

Ab­del­latif of Al­ge­ria won the race for the T13 class (vis­ually-im­paired) with a time of 3:48.29, 1.71 sec­onds faster than the 3:50:00 clocked by Amer­i­can Matthew Cen­trowitz to take the gold at the Olympic Games last month.

To make it even more in­cred­i­ble, De­misse, Kirwa and Fouad all bet­tered Cen­trowitz’s time.

But does that put the vis­ually-im­paired run­ners at Olympics level? Not re­ally.

Tac­tics play an im­por­tant role in long-dis­tance races at the Olympics just as much as tal­ent.

With­out the use of a “rab­bit” (a run­ner who sets the pace and then drops out af­ter a cer­tain point), a race and its pace are de­ter­mined by the pack.

If no­body takes the lead early, as in Cen­trowitz’s race, the group can be con­tent to stay to­gether un­til kick­ing into gear in the fi­nal 500m.

That is what hap­pened in the Olympics fi­nal, a slow race un­til ev­ery­one went into high rev dur­ing the fi­nal stretch.

The T13 race had a quick pace set early, and the run­ners “did bet­ter” be­cause of it.

Be that as it may, no one can deny the paraath­letes will al­ways be able to say they ran faster than any­one in their event did at the Olympics.


Ab­del­latif (cen­tre) and sil­ver medal­ist De­misse (left) cross­ing the fin­ish line of the 1,500m race for vi­su­al­ly­im­paired ath­letes.

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