Pistorius hits out after losing 200m crown
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius reacts to his loss AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
Oscar Pistorius has shot himself in the blade.
After spending years in a successful battle for the right to race his leg blades against able-bodied runners at the Olympics, Pistorius complained bitterly about a rival’s artificial limbs after suffering a shock loss at the London Paralympics on Sunday.
Fuming after his first-ever loss over 200m in Paralympic competition, runner-up Pistorius claimed Brazil’s gold medallist Alan Oliveira and third-placed Blake Leeper had an unfair advantage in the way they set up their blades.
Oliveira came from several metres behind on the bend to run him down the South African and win by 0.07 seconds, stunning the huge crowd into silence.
Paralympics icon Pistorius slammed the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), saying the extra height of his opponents in their blades gave them an edge.
“The IPC don’t want to listen,” he said. “The guys’ legs are unbelievably long.
“Not taking away from Alan’s performance, he’s a great athlete.
“But these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete with the stride length.
“You saw how far he came back (down the home straight). We aren’t racing a fair race. I gave it my best.
“The IPC have their regulations. The regulations allow that athletes can make themselves unbelievably high. We’ve tried to address the issue with them in the weeks up to this and it’s just been falling on deaf ears.”
Pistorius said Leeper’s knee height, for example, was “four inches (10cm) higher than it should be”.
“The guys are just running ridiculous times and they’re able to do so,” he said.
“I don’t know how you can come back, watching the replay, from eight metres behind on the 100 to win. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
The outburst could end up having financial consequences for Pistorius, who was greeted with thunderous support by the British crowd before the race.
The South African, who reached the 400m semi-finals at last month’s London Olympics, has cultivated a worldwide following because of his inspiring and controversial path to becoming an Olympian.
But the latest controversy is sure to re-open the debate about the benefits of blades and perhaps muddy the waters over his case to race at the Olympics.
He earns more than $1 million a year from endorsements but this sort of publicity could also hit his good guy image, no matter how justified he felt.
Oliveira rejected Pistorius’ claims of an unfair edge.
“I get upset to hear this kind of thing,” said the Brazilian.
“I’m inside the rules.
“I came here to celebrate and do not enter in any polemics. (He is) not a bad loser. Pistorius is a great athlete. I’m just sad with the interview where he said that my blades are too big.
“He was bothered by the time I had in the semi-finals and wanted to get to me with this polemic with the blades but it did not work.
“I still do not know with whom he is picking a fight. It’s not with me.”
Pistorius was initially banned by the IAAF from running at the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of concerns his blades provided him with an unfair advantage.
That ban was overturned at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) although he failed to meet the qualifying standard.
He won a silver medal as part of South Africa’s 4x400m relay team at last year’s world title in Daegu before competing in London to wide acclaim.© AFP 2013
- Oscar Pistorius