IPC considers action against Oscar

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IOL oscar loser 2 Getty Images Silver medalist Oscar Pistorius of South Africa and gold medalist Alan Oliveira pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m - T44.

London - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is considering whether it will sanction Oscar Pistorius for his outburst on “Bladegate” over the length of his competitors’ blades after the 200m final at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday night.

It is unlikely it will, however, after the IPC’s spokesman admitted yesterday that Pistorius, the most recognisable face in Paralympic sport, had asked it to look at the length of the blades of one of his competitors some six weeks ago.

After finishing second to Brazil’s Alan Oliveira on Sunday night, Pistorius vented his frustration at the increased length of the new Paralympic champion’s blades, saying the “IPC just won’t listen. The guys are running ridiculous times.”

At the medal presentation yesterday it looked as though Pistorius had a point. On the podium Oliveira, who had been about the same height as him after the race, was almost a full head shorter than him when wearing “normal” prosthetics.

“Oscar phoned me six weeks ago to complain about one athlete and his blade length,” said IPC communications officer Craig Spence.

“Within five hours of receiving that phone call we replied with the answer that the athlete in question was perfectly legitimate. It wasn’t Oliveira he had the concerns about, it was a different athlete. Therefore, we thought the issue was closed.”

Pistorius did not, however, and before Sunday night’s race had spoken of his fear that the race would become a farce as Oliveira and Blake Leeper, the American who took bronze, had made their blades a lot longer.

Pistorius admitted the timing of his criticism of the rules regarding the maximum allowed length of the carbon-fibre blades that amputee athletes may use was wrong.

He congratulated Oliveira on beating him, the first time he has been beaten over the distance, but he did not back down from his criticism of the IPC or the rules.

Team SA management said on Monday they welcomed Pistorius’s apology for his outburst and would back him if he wanted to take the matter further.

“We note and welcome Oscar’s apology for anything said in haste, and we obviously fully understand he was emotionally upset immediately after such an important event here in London,” said Sascoc chief executive officer Tubby Reddy.

“We’ll sit down with Oscar and discuss his concerns. He has our full backing. We are also happy to see that Oscar is moving on and focusing on the other events he is yet to run here in London.”

The IPC’s Spence also said it would take into account that Pistorius had been emotional when it sat down to look at any potential sanction against the South African.

“That’s something we need to take away and discuss,” said Spence. “Obviously we understand the pressure of coming here and competing in the Olympics and Paralympics, and to suffer your first defeat in over a year in front of 80 000 people is clearly going to hurt. Clearly he has an issue he wants to raise with us and the emotion got to him last night.”

Spence also said the IPC would discuss any concerns Pistorius had after the Paralympics.

Cape Argus


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