Cape Town - Oscar Pistorius is again at the centre of a controversy after beating an Arabian horse named Maserati in a “run like the wind” race in Doha on Wednesday night.
The Olympian took part in the race to promote disabled sportspeople and fight discrimination against disabled people in the region.
On Thursday morning, the SPCA in Cape Town said in a letter to Pistorius’s representatives that it had been “inundated with complaints regarding the manner in which the horse was ridden”.
Allan Perrins, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s chief executive, said in the letter that “the public is... outraged and disappointed with the participation of one of our local heroes in this event.
“The horse, it would appear, was excessively, unnecessarily and cruelly whipped from start to finish… the jockey… clearly showed absolutely no consideration for the horse’s welfare or wellbeing.”
Perrins said that had the race taken place in South Africa, “the rider, organisers and all participants including Oscar would have been charged with cruelty to animals”.
Pistorius’s team was approached for comment, but was not able to respond by press time.
* This was not the first time athletes have competed against horses, with some of the most notable champions, such as 1936 Olympics hero Jesse Owens and 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist Linford Christie, also going up against their four-legged friends.
French cyclist Thomas Voeckler has taken on horses at a racecourse in the Vendee, and in 2007 Bryan Habana raced a cheetah but fell short of beating it.