The Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro saw one of the most inspiring stories unfold in the Paralympic games. A story that would shame able-bodied athletes but melt your heart saw Paralympic athletes beat Rio Olympics time.
The Paralympic games always puts to light the struggles of different people of disability from all parts of the world. It also gives an avenue for them to be celebrated, rewarding their fight against the odds.
On Sunday, four Paralympians ran the 1500 meter race faster than anyone did at the Rio Olympics main event.
The winner of the gold medal at the 1500m race in Rio, Matthew Centrowitz Jr. of the US recorded a time of 3:50. The fourth placed person in the Paralympic event, Fouad Baka of Algeria recorded a time of 3:49.59.
The 1500m T12/13 race for the visually impaired was won by Fouad’s brother, Abdellatif Baka of Algeria. He recorded a time of 3:48.29. The podium was completed with second placed Tamiru Demisse of Ethiopia and third placed Henry Kirwa of Kenya.
These athletes have been left to wonder what could have been if they participated in the same even at the same stadium just a month ago.
Matthew Centrowitz Jr and the other athletes would not have stood a chance against these visually impaired athletes.
It begs the question – will the conversation to have these ”Paralympic” champions compete in the main Olympic event arise?
We can recall that Oscar Pistorius became a Paralympic champion recording lap times that challenged able-bodied athletes.
He exceeded all expectations and persistent objections before becoming the first athlete to compete at both the Olympics main event and Paralympic event.