Incredible run by paralympians
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.