Oksana Masters again went to the stop. To the rhythm of a sewing machine, the 32-year-old ruthlessly hammered his sticks into the wet snow at home at Zhangjiakou Stadium. He pushed the air out of his mouth with stroke after stroke of the stick, pulling himself meter by meter towards Hongqiong Yang, who was leading and now almost lost his rhythm.
Yang wins gold, Masters nods
But it should not be enough. In the final of the Paralympic cross-country sprint in the seated class, Yang saved a 1.7-second lead at the finish line after a 1.1 kilometer lactate-demanding anaerobic speed torture.
Masters, the figurehead we-American Paralympic teams barely congratulated the Chinese winner from afar. Instead, he nodded angrily, repeatedly, apparently quarreling – even in a brief exchange with teammates Kendall Gretsch and Christina Picton from Canada, who meanwhile lost. They went.
equal opportunity? “Some Classes Definitely Favorites”
The outrage was in no way directed at his own performance, but at the basic requirements of the competitions. Masters later did not mention the current conditions on the track, which was increasingly battered by rising temperatures, but all the more clearly the lack of technical skiing demands of the course: “It definitely favors certain classes, for sure.”
“Criticize the game, not the players”Sportschau commentator Julian Wigman emphasized this. ard-live stream. Masters’ charge was once again aimed at the ubiquitous problem of classification, which is also ubiquitous at these Paralympics in Beijing – that is, a factor in the assessment of the severity of the associated impairment in athletes and the time credit derived from it. The goal is the greatest possible equality of opportunity for all.
Yang was allowed out 26 seconds earlier
The “seated classes” in Nordic skiing, for example, where athletes are not allowed to move their lower extremities outside of their sled or monoski, have five so-called “Locomotor Winter”– Rating (LW) from 10 to 12. For example, German biathlon medalist Anja Wicker has an LW10.5. Double Paralympic champion Hongqiong Yang is rated LW10, Oksana Masters LW12.
With a higher level of handicap, Yang’s race is calculated compared to the Masters’ LW12 (100 percent) with a time factor of 86 percent. In concrete terms, this 14 percent difference in the cross-country sprint allowed Yang to hit the track 26 seconds earlier than his biggest competitor.
Small scale, complex classification system
Years ago, the Federal Institute for Sports Science published a detailed 38-page overview of the elaborate and complex classification system for the Paralympic Games. Athletes are classified through a thorough work test by an independent medical examiner. It is influenced by experience and (World Cup) preparatory work and is also flexible, so it can be reevaluated and tested over the course of a career.
The currently valid classifications for Nordic para skiing (cross-country skiing and biathlon), alpine para skiing, para ice hockey and wheelchair curling are based on code Since 2015 the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) K.
“Wonder” About the successes of the Chinese assembly line
However, disputes about this have been going on for as long as organized para-sport has existed. Mainly because of the exploits of the Chinese team, they exist now more than ever. Before the 2022 Beijing home games, it won only one medal at the Winter Paralympics – gold in wheelchair curling in Pyeongchang 2018. Four years later, with three competition days, China tops the national rankings with 32 medals, including ten gold medals.
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