KARACHI: Pakistan’s Haider Ali wants to create history by becoming the first Pakistani athlete to lift a Paralympic gold as he prepares for tomorrow’s long jump event.
Ali, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, took part in F-37/38 Category men’s long jump in Beijing Paralympics in 2008 and covered a distance of 6.44 meters, winning a silver medal. Tunisia’s Farhat Chida covered the same distance but won a gold medal because he made six successful jumps overall, whereas Haider had two of his attempts rejected. He still rues missing out on the gold. He also took part in the 100m in London but was disappointed to have finished last in the event.
“It’s a huge occasion in my life because I’ve worked really hard to create history and become the first Pakistani to grab a Paralympics gold,” Haider told The Express Tribune. “It’s still agonising for me after all those years that I lost out on unsuccessful attempts in Beijing. I want to erase that memory with a new chapter in my life. One thing is for sure, I’ll put everything on line in order to achieve my dream of winning a gold medal for Pakistan.”
Pistorius apologises for outburst
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius apologised for the timing of his outburst after losing his T44 200m title, but insisted there was an issue with large prosthetics lengthening an amputee’s stride.
Pistorius, the star of the London 2012 Paralympics, was sensationally beaten into the silver medal position by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira on Sunday, in a result that stunned the Olympic Stadium. The 25-year-old then hit out at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), claiming it was not a fair race and he was at a disadvantage caused by artificial leg length, as the regulations allowed athletes to make themselves ‘unbelievably high’.
“I would never want to detract from another athletes’ moment of triumph and I want to apologise for the timing of my comments after yesterday’s race,” said the South African. “I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong. That was Alan’s moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him.
“I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC who obviously share these aims.” (WITH ADDITIONAL INFO FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.