Oscar Pistorius apologises for timing of remarks on opponent's blades

By Drum Digital
03 September 2012

South African Oscar Pistorius on Monday apologised for the timing of critical remarks on the prosthetic blades used by Brazilian runner Alan Oliveira who beat him for 200 metres gold at the Paralympics.

But the double amputee runner Pistorius said in a statement that the issue needs to be discussed with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Oliveira came from behind on the home straight on Sunday to beat Pistorius by seven hundredth of a second with a winning 21.45 seconds.

"I would never want to detract from another athletes' moment of triumph and I want to apologise for the timing of my comments after yesterday's race," Pistorius said on Monday. "That was Alan's moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him."

"I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC who obviously share these aims ... I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong."

Pistorius told Channel 4 television after the race he considered Oliveira's prosthetic blades too long and that "we're not running a fair race."

"The size of some of the other guys' legs are unbelievably long. Some of these guys are a lot taller and you can't compete for stride length ... We tried to address the issue in the weeks leading up to this, but it fell on deaf ears," he said.

Oliveira said that "the length of my blades is alright because I went through all the procedures with the referees." The IPC said that all athletes in the 200m final "were within the regulations."

Pistorius won four Paralympic golds in 2004 and 2008 and gained fame for competing at major able-bodied events - the 2011 world athletics championships and the 2012 Olympics in London - after being cleared to run there by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2008.

The ruling athletics body IAAF had originally banned Pistorius from able-bodied events, saying the blades gave him an unfair advantage.

Pistorius made the 400m semi-finals and finished eighth with his team in the 4x400m relay at the London Olympics last month. He was the defending 100m, 200m and 400m champion at the Paralympics.

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