“Athletes never stand still and are always improving and getting more determined. I think it will be a very close race in Christchurch just like it was in Beijing.”
The big names of Oscar Pistorius, David Weir and Kurt Fearnley may not have it all their own way at next January’s IPC Athletics World Championships with a number of young and upcoming athletes targeting upsets.
This is according to Craig Carscadden, who represented Great Britain at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games and is now Vice Chair of the Sport Technical Committee for IPC Athletics.
Speaking at the IPC’s Sport Council meeting in Bonn, Germany, Carscadden said it was not a formality for Oscar Pistorius to win three golds in Christchurch and that the 100m could be the hardest race of all for him to win.
“I’ve no doubt at all that Oscar will be challenged,” explained Carscadden. “Athletes never stand still and are always improving and getting more determined. I think it will be a very close race in Christchurch just like it was in Beijing.”
In 2008 after a poor start in the Birds Nest Stadium, Beijing, Pistorius beat the USA’s Jerome Singleton by just three hundredths of a second to win 100m gold in a race that thrilled the 90,000 capacity crowd. Although the two are set to renew their rivalry over the same distance again in Christchurch, Carscadden believes a newcomer could make a name for himself in New Zealand.
Craig Carscadden said: “There will probably be others who come to the fore in Christchurch who aren’t household names at the moment. They will be looking to come through and hit their peaks in time for the World Championships.
“That’s the whole point of sport - trying to improve, better yourself and win medals.
“These younger athletes who are coming through will want to beat the big names if not in Christchurch, then certainly in London 2012.”
More than 1,000 athletes from 70 countries are expected to take part in the IPC Athletics World Championships next January, an event that will be the last major gathering of international athletes before the London 2012 Paralympic Games. And, in the opinion of Carscadden both events present tremendous opportunities for the Paralympic Movement.
“I think all the athletes and countries are looking forward to Christchurch,” said Carscadden. “It’s the first time that the World Championships have been held outside of the northern hemisphere, in fact the first time outside of Europe, so it will be a challenge but I think it will be a really good athlete experience
“From my own perspective I wish I was still an athlete. I was fortunate to compete in 1996 and it would be wonderful to compete again in my home capital London in 2012.
“What London will give is great media exposure. The UK is one of the few countries that broadcasts live Paralympic Sport and has been doing so for the last 10 years or so.By having the Games in London it will be a media opportunity and if the broadcasters get on board then it will be a really great event,” he added.