Monday, January 10, 2005

A Strange Article....

I unearthed an old copy of a magazine called "The Big Issue" on the weekend.
This is an interesting magazine, produced to help the homeless, and sold to homeless people at a discount, so that they can re-sell it for its full cover price to passers-by in towns and cities. The vendors are able to earn some money that way.
I almost always buy a copy when I see a vendor, in thanksgiving for having a roof over my head when so many do not have that luxury.
Anyway, I digress.

The article was in a Sept 2004 issue, and opened with a paragraph that stopped me dead in my tracks :-)

"Outraged dwarf athletes are demanding the world records set by two Tunisian competitors in this summer`s Paralympic Games should be struck off because they were too `tall` "
End quote.

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I was astounded to discover that there is a Dwarf Athletic Association UK, who claim that the unfortunate Tunisians did not have the most common form of dwarfism, achondroplasia, (where the arms and legs are *much* shorter than they should be in proportion to the body which is short anyway), and they should therefore be excluded.

Apparently the Paralympic F40 dwarf classification says the maximum height for females should be 136 cm, or 4ft 5 in.

I wouldn`t have described 4ft 5in as dreadfully short ; at school I was taught by a teacher shorter than that, and she could strike terror into the hearts of recalcitrant youngsters, believe me !
She was married, had kids, and led an entirely normal life, "competing" on a daily basis with taller people without ever complaining that she should have special treatment because of her height......

I have bizarre visions of there being acrimonious arguments amongst dwarfs, because some are at the upper level of dwarfism and others are at the lower level. Should there be even more stringent criteria to differentiate and segregate amongst different dwarf heights ? Should there be two inch height increment classes ?

They do not have separate categories in the main Olympics for people who are of average height, and those who have Marfan Syndrome, who are excessively tall, and who therefore might have an "unfair" advantage in events such as high jump, or long jump, for instance.

I just wonder where it will all end.....or am I just missing the point ?

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