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Oscar Pistorius moved into dangerous territory on Sunday night when he claimed that Alan Oliveira, the Brazilian double amputee athlete who beat him to gold in the Paralympic final, had used a technological advantage to hand the South African his first defeat in the 200m. That immediately opened him up to attack by those who believe that he should not be allowed to run against the able-bodied.
Now, more than ever, the focus will be on his carbon-fibre blades rather than on the athlete himself.
Pistorius was clearly angry when he lost on Sunday night.
Oliveira made up eight metres in the last 80m. It was an incredible run, one that mirrored the effort by Pistorius in the 100m in Beijing in 2008, when he had to come from behind to win.
This was not the Pistorius the world has come to know. This was a Pistorius upset at what he believed were lax rules that allowed Oliveira and Blake Leeper, the American who finished third, to run the fastest they ever had. The International Paralympic Committee said that all of the runners had been measured and had been found to conform with the formula that determines the maximum length of the prosthetics.
And yet, Oliveira and Leeper looked unusually tall. The British 400m runner, Martyn Rooney, suggested that they looked as if they were on stilts. Pistorius has stuck to the length of blade he has always used, the one that puts him at a “natural” height. He stands at the same height in his everyday prosthetics as he does in his racing blades. He has to. If he does not, then the IAAF will not allow him to race in its events.
And now those who believe he does not belong there have ammunition from the mouth of Pistorius himself to use against him, continuing a debate that will continue to run and run, and may only end when Pistorius retires from competition.
He may yet regret his words.