Pistorious battles it out with the best

2012-09-01 19:49

Single amputee will give Oscar a run for his money

Single amputee Jerome Singleton studied physics so that he could learn how to master the use of his prosthetic leg, having been born without a fibula.

It was never a hindrance to the 26-year-old, who was at one stage in the top 100 American college football prospects, and is now among the quickest Paralympic sprinters on the planet.

Silver medallist in the 100m four years ago, this time round he will do battle against holder Oscar Pistorius, world record pacesetter Jonnie Peacock of Britain, compatriot Blake Leeper and Arnu Fourie on Wednesday.

“This is going to be some of the best amputee sprinting you’ve ever seen. Period,” said Singleton, who handed Pistorius his first defeat in seven years in the 100m during the IPC World Championships in New Zealand in January last year.

“When you look at the Olympics, there was Usain Bolt. But when you come to the Paralympics there are about six individuals within a tenth of a second of each other. It’s going to be an epic final.”

Pistorius, dubbed the “Blade Runner” for the two carbon fibre prosthetic blades he uses after being born without a fibula in both legs, said he has lost sight of the 100m event, but Singleton was not convinced.

“I think Oscar said that because it gives him an out. Oh, he’s going to be prepared,” he said.

“If you slip up, take a wrong step, it’s going to be bad. You’ve got to be up on that particular day, at that particular time.”

Singleton turned down athletics scholarships from various colleges to focus on his studies, having been offered a full academic scholarship, during which time he learnt more about his condition.

His right leg was amputated below the knee when he was 18-months old, but there was no stopping the American.

“I took mathematics and applied physics so I could learn more about myself. So I read about walking and running limbs.

“Now I can go out and change someone’s perceptions on life in 10 to 11 seconds,” he said.

Singleton said his boyhood memories are of being treated like the “rest of the children”, but he had a mountain to climb and was not even made aware of the Paralympic movement until 2006. Pistorius became the first Paralympian to compete in the Olympics earlier this month.

Singleton would love a shot at the Olympics, but also knows it would be an almost impossible task, given the strength and breadth of sprinting talent in the United States.

Singleton and Pistorius are each scheduled to race in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay at the Olympic Stadium.

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