Oscar to focus on winning gold

2008-09-05 13:21

Beijing - "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius vowed Friday to put a spat with South Africa's sporting chiefs aside and focus on winning gold in the Paralympics starting this weekend.

The South African track star, who will compete in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, lashed out this week because the team's kit was late arriving and also criticised the travelling arrangements to Beijing.

Pistorius, who won a court battle to compete at last month's Olympics but then failed to qualify, said that he would take up the issues with the South African sporting authorities after the Games.

"There are definitely a couple of issues that need to be raised when I get home but this isn't the time to do it. We received our kit on Friday which I think was way too late but these are things I can't let influence my game."

"I've got to perform, regardless of external factors," he added, saying his experience would help him.

The 21-year-old had also criticised the fact that athletes had been crammed into economy class on the long flight to Beijing.

Paralympic athletes

"I can understand if the group can't fly business class but then they've got to look at alternatives," he said, adding that for some amputees the flight had been particularly difficult.

Pistorius said Paralympic athletes were used to an increasingly professional set-up.

"You expect all those things to be taken care of and not for the athletes to have to check up," he said.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said earlier this week "it is of grave concern to Sascoc and team management that he did not address his concerns to us."

Its statement said that, after athletes expressed dissatisfaction with their kit, they had commissioned a new one, which suppliers were unable to manufacture before the team's departure.

Pistorius, who had both of his legs amputated as a baby due to a congenital disorder, has been dubbed "Blade Runner" due to the specially adapted carbon fibre blades he wears.

In May, Pistorius won a court battle to overturn an International Association of Athletics Federations ban that stopped him competing against able-bodied athletes.

He failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics and is now targeting the London Games in 2012.

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