Hon bemoans ‘high-tech Paralympics’


It has the world’s highest percentage of amputees yet Cambodia is sending just one athlete to the Paralympics, an event critics say increasingly favours nations that can afford the latest high tech gear.
Thin Seng Hon, who was born without a fully formed right leg, will be Cambodia’s sole representative in London early next month when she competes in the 100m and 200m sprints in the below-the-knee amputee category.
Her “lucky leg”, as she calls the $2,500 J-shaped running blade which allows her to race, helped her to three podium places at a regional athletics meet last year. But she doubts it will keep pace with the higher-tech prosthetics of her rivals in London.
“I don’t expect to win a medal,” the 28-year-old said after a morning training session at Phnom Penh’s run-down Olympic Stadium, explaining her opponents will likely benefit from “more modern prosthetics” costing several times that of her own.
Living in a poor country already puts her at a disadvantage — she trains on a dirt track and balances running with a full-time job at a souvenir shop where she earns $120 a month.
But it is her artificial leg, paid for by donations from friends, that leaves her trailing rivals before the competition even begins.


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