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SA Blade Runner beats horse Maserati

AFP

Oscar Pistorius, the first disabled runner to compete in the Olympics, has beaten Arab horse Maserati in the "run like the wind" race.

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius. (AFP)

The 26-year-old Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner because of the carbon fibre blades he runs on after having his legs amputated below the knee before he was aged one because of a congenital condition, beat the horse in the 200m race in Doha on Wednesday.

Pistorius took up the challenge in a bid to promote disabled sportspeople and fight discrimination against disabled people in the region.

The South African, who retained his 400m title at the Paralympics in London following his Olympics campaign, raced on a typical athletics track surface while Maserati competed on a sand surface.

Pistorius, who reached the 400m semi-finals in London and also ran in the 4x400m relay final to realise his boyhood dream of competing at the able-bodied Games, took full advantage of starting 15 metres in front of Maserati – who ruined its chances of winning by making a terrible start.

'It was a lot of fun'
Maserati veered towards the rail which separated the two competitors and never recovered despite coming under a severe whipping from his rider and Pistorius came home well clear.

"It wasn't about who won tonight," said Pistorius after crossing the line. "It was about showing people that those with disabilities are capable of doing great things. It was a lot of fun. Hopefully this will do a lot to change perceptions of disabled people in the region."

The race was not the first time athletes have competed against horses with some of the most notable champions such as 1936 Olympics hero Jesse Owens and 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist Linford Christie also going up against their four-legged friends, who generally out-paced their human rivals.

UK runner Huw Lobb made a little bit of history in 2004 when he was named the first man on foot to win the annual 22-mile Man Against Horse marathon, in the Welsh village of Llanwrtyd Wells, which started in 1980.

Top cyclist Thomas Voeckler from France also competed against horses at a racecourse in the Veendee, while rugby star Bryan Habana of South Africa fell short of beating a cheetah. – AFP

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