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This sporting life

It isn't easy to raise doubts about disabled sports without looking unsympathetic. But as the case of sprinter Oscar Pistorius shows, hard questions sometimes have to be asked

Disabled or too-abled?

After long deliberation, the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled in January that the South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was ineligible to compete in qualifying events for this summer’s Olympic Games. Pistorius was born without fibulas, and his lower legs were amputated before his first birthday. He has learned to run on “Cheetahs”—carbon-fibre prosthetic devices which look like J-shaped blades. These give him, the world athletics governing body decided, “an advantage over other athletes not using them.”

Despite a natural sympathy for Pistorius, few people thought the IAAF’s decision could have been different. And yet several…

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