The Paralympic Athletes

Some of the most inspiring athletes in the world are Paralympians. Despite abilities different from that of an able-bodied person, these athletes are able to compete at the highest level of sport. Case in point is the Blade Runner himself, Oscar Pistorius, who has a personal best of 45.61s (within the able-bodied Olympic “B” standard).

Read: “The Blade Runner”

Wacthing the one-legged Hou Bin (侯斌) leap over 1.92m piqued my interest in other Paralympic athletes.

A cursory Google search led me to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) website, where I was able to view the standing world records for the various categories of competitive Paralympics:

  • Class 11-13 – Visual impairment
  • Class 20 – Intellectual disablity
  • Classes 32-38 – Cerebral palsy
  • Classes 40-46 – Ambulant athletes
  • Classes 51-58 – Wheelchair athletes

To learn more about the myriad of classifications, it is best to consult the IPC handbook itself.

View the Paralympic athletics world records here

Browsing over the world records, the most competitive performances are those by visually-impaired and ambulatory athletes. Most of the records would still be competitive in contemporary Philippine athletics competitions. For instance, Elchin Muradov’s (T12, 10.66) and Jason Smythe’s (T13, 10.62) respective world records would merit easy victories at the recently-concluded Philippine National Games, where the top 3 barely even broke 10 seconds. World record holders in Classes 43-46 would have figured in a tight photo-finish in the PNG, had they competed.

And of course, there’s the Blade Runner with his 45.61s personal best in the 400m dash. Pistorius is merely four-hundredths of second away from Isidro del Prado, the Philippines’ best ever sprinter. In the shot put, Jackie Christiansen 17.89m F44 world record is a lot better than the standing Philippine record of 15.83m.

The horizontal jumps are also as impressive, especially from a Filipino athlete’s viewpoint. Luis Felipe Gutierrez’ F13 world record of 7.64m is almost at par with the Philippine’s best male jumpers, Henry Dagmil (7.99m) and Joebert Delicano. Even the ambulant world record of 7.09m (Markus Rehm, T44) would merit a top three finish in the PNG. The F13 Triple Jump record of Gutierrez is even more astounding. At 16.23m, it is better than Delicano’s 16.12m mark.

A personal favorite, aside from Pistorious’ sub-46 400m, would have to be Jeff Skiba‘s 2.15m. Born without a fibula, Skiba’s left leg was amputated below the knee after birth.

In the Philippines, there isn’t much attention given to track & field, much less differently-abled athletes. In fact, most public facilities here are unfriendly to persons like the double-amputee Oscar Pistorius or the visually-impaired Luis Felipe Gutierrez. Hence, to see these great Paralympic athletes perform at par – or at times, better – than the best Filipino sporstmen is truly awe-inspiring.

I tip my hat off to the brave Paralympians.


One response to “The Paralympic Athletes

  1. Pingback: Track Beauty of the Week: Kelly Cartwright « hurdler49: Hurdling the Real World.

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