Hong Kong amputees get expert advice on running with false limb

German Paralympic legend leads class to boost health and mobility

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 March, 2017, 8:43pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 March, 2017, 10:55pm

Local amputees took small steps to improved mobility as they ran, jogged and walked along the Central Harbourfront yesterday, with a little help from a Paralympic hero, in a first-of-its-kind sports workshop designed especially for people with leg amputations.

German athletics star Heinrich Popow, a former Paralympic and world champion, led the training session.

Some 16 amputees aged between 27 and 63 were chosen for the oversubscribed workshop, teaching how to sprint with a prosthetic limb.

“The Running Clinic is not about taking people to the next Olympics or Paralympics, but it’s taking them to the next level of activity and challenging what people normally do,” said Peter Goldberg, managing director for Ottobock in Hong Kong, which supplied the prosthetics. “And clearly they’ve never done anything like this before with the components available and that’s what really helps them.

“It’s the first time we’ve [held such an event in] Hong Kong, and hopefully not the last time.”

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During the three-day workshop, the local participants enjoyed one-on-one and group training with Popow, being taught how to run properly.

The 33-year-old sprinter has amassed more than two dozen medals during his career at Paralympic, world and European competitions, including gold in the long jump at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and in the 100 metre sprint at London 2012 in the T42 category – for single above-knee amputees and athletes with similar impairments with equivalent effects.

Aged nine, Popow had his left leg amputated up to his thigh because it was developing cancer.