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Aussies turn into whingeing softies at Paralympics

What a wuss. Second placed Kurt Fearnley in the 800m T54 Wheelchair race at the Beijing Paralympics had a boohoo today. He complained that because he was in Lane 2 he got boxed in and couldn’t win so BooHooed to his team who then BooHooed to the committee – who then, amazingly, said the race would be rerun on Tuesday!

Now I’ve run 800m and I’ve run it in Lane 2 as well, but admittedly not in a wheelchair. It’s not the nicest lane, but that’s the luck of the draw. If you get boxed in, well it just means your tactics were piss poor or you didn’t start fast enough. As Tanni Grey Thompson, winner of 11 Paralympic Gold medals, 30 times world record holder and winner of six London Marathons said about Fearnley’s race:

He didn’t get around Weir at the start, chose to go in behind him, and as the race went on, he found that there was no way out. That is racing. That is sport, and it is tough.

OK, so there was a mix up at the start with the lane allocations, but they are all the same length: it is after all, an 800m race! Only the first curve is run in lanes, the rest of the race pans out according to the position you choose to get yourself into. You can win from any lane.

The Aussies complained there were two startlane lists, and that this meant their athlete was boxed in. Awww… poor possum! He was first told he was in lane 7, then in lane 2. Well, so what? They’re all the bloody same, so get over it! It’s a race, and if you lose, you lose. I’ve never heard of any major Olympic 800m race having to be rerun because an athlete complained he was prevented from winning because he was in the wrong lane! That’s just a bad loser talking.

I’ve competed against people like that. They never take responsibility for their own failures. It reminds me of the time I faced off a Frenchman in France in the Mr Cosmos competition in some nowheresville French disco in Brittany. I beat him fair and square, so he complained his equipment was faulty and the final was rerun. Of course I beat him again because there was nothing wrong with his equipment, he just wasn’t good enough in the brains department.

Unfortunately, Dave Weir, the Briton who actually won the race fair and square will find it more difficult to win again as he is competing in a total of 4 events in Beijing so yet another 800m race he could well do without. If he was only in another 800m race, he would probably beat this whingeing wallaby but with the extra racing taking something out of him it will be more difficult.

I think everyone will really know who won on the day – not the officials, not the Aussie team, not Kurt Fearnley. When Kurt looks Dave Weir in the eye, he will know who the real winner was; and it won’t be the face that stares back at him out of the mirror…

Wherever did sportsmanship go to?


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