Paralympic upset and controversy over blades

2012-09-03 07:20

London – In the biggest upset of the London Paralympic Games, Oscar Pistorius, who won the silver medal in the men’s 200 metres T44 final last night, said he had never seen a race like that before in his entire career.

“I’ve never seen a guy come back from eight metres on the 100 metre mark, to overtake me on the finish line,” said Pistorius, reeling from shock after conceding his huge lead to finish second.

Pistorius and the communications and media director for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Craig Spence delivered a joint statement to the media nearly two hours later.

After Pistorius expressed his concerns publicly, both before and after the final, about the length of the prosthetic blades used by Oliveira, Spence said the matter was now being investigated.

“We’ve agreed we will meet again with our medical and scientific director Peter van de Vliet for Oscar to share his concerns with the IPC, without the emotions of tonight’s race,” Spence said.

“That meeting will be set up in due course and we’ll discuss what Oscar’s got to say and then we’ll take it from there.”

Pistorius, struggling to hide his emotions expressed his gratitude to Spence and said his focus would now be on his other races.

“I would just like to say thanks very much to Craig for taking the time to listen to me,” said the subdued Pistorius.

“I would also like to congratulate Alan. I shook his hand outside on the track.

“He had a great performance tonight and I wish him all the best.

“My focus is going to be on my upcoming races now.

“I wasn’t able to defend my title in the 200m, but hopefully I’ll be able to do it in the 400m and, maybe with a bit of luck, in the 100m.

“Thank you very much for coming back out here, I appreciate it,” he told reporters before being ushered away by Spence.

Pistorius, who had set a T43 world record of 21.30 seconds in the heats on Saturday, clocked 21.52 in the final, to lose his title to Oliveira by a faction of a second in 21.45.

In third place was Blake Leeper from the US, in 22.46.

Pistorius dismissed suggestions that he had faded on the line thinking the race was already won.

“I never believe you have it in the bag until you cross the line, and I always believe in running over the line which I did.

“I ran a great race tonight it really was a top race from me.”

The packed stadium fell silent when only moments earlier spectators had been cheering at the top of their voices when Pistorius came round the bend, and was well ahead on the straight.

It was not to be as Oliveira came out of nowhere to take Pistorius on the finishing line.

Pistorius, who had earlier expressed his outrage at the longer prosthetics being used by both Oliveira and Leeper, said there was nothing he could do as they were permitted by the IPC.

“Obviously I am upset, I’ve never lost a 200m race in my life,” he said.

“There has never been another Paralympian amputee to run a 21 second race before, never mind a 21.4.

“We’ve known about these longer prosthetics for about a month now, since the US trials, and I’ve brought it up with the IPC but nothing has been done about it.

“I believe in the fairness of sport and I believe in running on the right length.

“We’ve got a formula which is pretty much the same for everyone – from your hip to your condyle and from your condyle to your toes, and the ratio is about 1.6 and I’ve stuck with it for years.”

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