Wednesday, September 12, 2012
My meeting with Oscar Pistorius -- the ‘Blade Runner’
He is a very ‘humble man’
By David Smethurst at the London 2012 Paralympics for Press Service International and Christian Today Australia
Special to ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS) -- Now that the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics are finally over, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of my time in London during these two wonderful events, especially while covering the Paralympics.
When I met him in the South African team office at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Oscar greeted me respectfully and asked how I was. Now, I am a nobody when it comes to serving these high profile athletes, but it is very touching when a great person stops and talks personally and graciously allow one to be in a photo with him.
I said to Oscar, “God bless you with your events” (in Afrikaans), to which he replied, “Thank you sir. I really appreciate that.” He is amazingly honest and not afraid of standing up for righteousness, and he doesn’t shy away from confrontation. I predict that he’s going to be an important figure in Sports Politics and Management in time to come.
A day later I met Arnu Fourie a very quiet and respectful young man – also a “blade runner” -- who seemed to stand in Oscar’s shadow. But no more is he in the shadows, after his bronze medal in the 100 meters against Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain who won the gold. It was very moved seeing Oscar Pistorius, who came fourth, be the first to congratulate Jonnie on his win, and Arnu on his bronze medal.
A great favorite
In 2006 she swam in open events at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and excelled. In the 2008 Natalie swam at the Beijing Olympics & Paralympics and won numerous medals. Now in 2012 in London she has won not only 13 gold medals in her career but also the hearts of so many sports followers.
He limped into the South African office in the Paralympic Village and took off his artificial leg revealing a very swollen stump caused by an injury. There were tears of agony in his eyes and I felt so sorry for him. I knelt next to him and asked, “May I pray for you?”and he replied,” I would like that very much.”
I prayed for his wellbeing and for the healing of his leg. He then said, “Thank you. Thank you so much.” When I saw him two days later I asked him how his leg was, to which he replied, “My leg is doing great. Thank you so much once again.” He won bronze in the 100 meters butterfly.
As volunteers, the group I was with, were asked to drive athletes and managers to a press conference for the South African team at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington Gardens, London. The traffic at this time of the day was horrific but the three Paralympic cars delivered the SA team there safely. We were privileged to attend the conference and I was impressed at the way the managers and athletes presented themselves. They shone with victory and shared their experiences, adversities and victories with great confidence. Part of the celebration was to honor Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday.
In all these situations I have been able to share the Gospel and uplift Jesus.
One day, I was out shopping for Paralympic requirements in a 99p shop in London, when I noticed David Taylor, a swimmer from Barbados, as well as his team colleagues. I greeted him and said that he had the name of the great King David in the Bible and that his name means “beloved of God”. He knew that and was doing his best to live for his King, Jesus. The presence of the Lord simply shone from him.
You may remember that during the Olympics, I met a man named Daniel, from Tel Aviv, who worked in the management of a hotel. We got talking about what I do in Israel to help the Russian and Ethiopian Jews. He was fascinated and asked why I did "this stuff". That opened a huge door to minister Yeshua to him. We met again at the Paralympics and shared more about my life’s journey with the Messiah.
On one of my missions is to minister to the Latvia military, and while in London I met a Pastor Peteris Tervits from the Ventspils Baptist Church. After ministering in that church, I guided him on how he could become a chaplain at the Olympics & Paralympics. On the evening of the Opening Ceremony, Peter introduced me to the Latvian Ambassador Edvars. He was amazed that I had been ministering in Latvia for 21 years and supported so many orphans there. It was a great opportunity to share the gospel with him.
Watching the Paralympic events on TV in the UK it’s been a joy to see Ade Adepitan, a wheelchair basketballer from three Paralympics, hosting the TV presentation. I met Ade at the Sydney Paralympics in 2000. Ade came to our training for the Games to share the needs of a Paralympian and how to minister to them. He just shines with the presence of the Lord.
Now it is all over, but what memories I have, and will never forget, as I met so many of these great people who have overcome so much and yet never once complained about their situation.
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