2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, Considering the High Jump, your Daily Dose from DOHA, by Stuart Weir


21788512084_494a6e79b1_k.jpgDOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 22: Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda of India in action during the men's high jump T42 final during the Evening Session on Day One of the IPC Athletics World Championships at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium on October 22, 2015 in Doha, Qatar.


If there is one event which seems to epitomize the spirit of para-athletics, it is the amputee high-jump. As Rick Broadbent of the London Times so eloquently expressed it: "We should not ask why the one-legged man decided to do the high-jump, we should just be glad that he did".

The T42 (above knee amputees) has to seen to be believed. While some athletes jump with their prosthetics, the majority remove their artificial limb and hop to the bar and over it. Some go over the bar with a head-first dive. Others with a leap and a roll. The spring they obtain is certainly "beyond incredible", to quote the event catch-phrase. The whole spectacle of the athlete removing a leg, hopping at great speed with perfact balance before throwing himself over the bar was simply a jaw-dropping sight.

The 2015 men's competition was won by Sam Crewe of USA with a height of 1.81, a championship record. In an exciting competition, seven jumpers cleared 1.72 or higher. That would be a respectable height in quite a few club high-jump competitions for two-legged high jumpers.

In the London Paralympics, Fiji's Iliesa Delana stole the show with his gold-medal winning performance, causing one person to tweet in amazement: "That one-legged high jump was amazing! I couldn't do that if I strapped 76 frogs to my feet and swallowed a pogo stick".

The challenge of writing about disability sport is to capture the amazing spectacle without seeming patronising. I always recall a story multiple wheelchair marathon winner, Jean Driscoll told me. Someone said to her, "I think it is just wonderful, that you can do a marathon". Jean replied, "Not at all - you could do one too if you trained for 3 hours a day, six days a week".

It is important to regard amputee high-jumping not as some kind of freak-show but as very talented athletes, performing to a very high standard as a result of years of hard training.

Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required