Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Amputee, 5, is already a world beater on her bionic blades
By Tamara Cohen
Last updated at 7:29 AM on 19th May 2009
Add to My Stories He has been called the fastest man on no legs. But Oscar 'Blade Runner' Pistorius got a run for his money when five-year-old Ellie Challis challenged him to a race on their bionic feet.
Paralympian Pistorius, world record holder for double amputees at 100, 200 and 400 metres, may have made some allowance for age and the fact that Ellie's blades were fitted only last month.
But she had clearly learned quicker than he bargained for - Ellie crossed the line first in all four of their 15-metre races.
The youngster, from Little Clacton, Essex, lost her hands and lower legs after contracting meningitis at 16 months.
She was fitted with conventional prosthetic legs but found them painful so her parents Paul and Lisa contacted Dorset Orthopaedic who made her a junior version of the type of carbon-fibre blades used by 22-yearold Pistorius. Ellie is the youngest person to wear them and is making remarkable progress - as she proved against the South African paralympian.
Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee at 11 months when doctors discovered he had no fibulas.
He runs using Cheetah Flex-Foot limbs made by a company called Ossur.
Ellie's are the same brand but are more difficult to walk on because her legs were amputated above the knee.
Ellie was cheered on by her twin Sophie, sister Taila, nine, and brother Connor, 11, at a sports centre in Enfield, North London. Pistorius will compete in Manchester on Sunday at the Paralympic World Cup, sponsored by BT, for whom he acts as an ambassador.