London – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Monday said they would meet Oscar Pistorius in the coming days to hear his concerns about prostheses, after he sensationally lost his T44 200m title.
The 25-year-old South African hit out at his fellow competitors after he was beaten at the line by Brazil's Alan Oliveira at the Olympics Stadium late on Sunday, claiming that he was at a disadvantage due to artificial leg length.
Pistorius, dubbed the “Blade Runner” because he runs on carbon fibre blades, himself had to fight to have the J-shaped “Cheetah” blades he uses sanctioned so he could run against non-disabled athletes, including at the Olympics.
IPC media and communications director Craig Spence said there were regulations regarding the length of prostheses for amputee athletes in T42 (above-the-knee), T43 (double below-the-knee) and T44 (single leg below-the knee) track races.
“Since 2010 we have had rules in place whereby in international competition we measure athletes in the call room prior to a race,” he told a news conference at Olympic Park in east London.
“Last night (Sunday) we measured all eight athletes in the call room prior to competition. This was done by an international classifier. They were measured, we had the signature of the classifier and all eight were legitimate to race.”
Pistorius, the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics who was defending his three Paralympic T44 sprint titles from Beijing in 2008, looked odds-on to win the race after he stormed round the bend.
But Oliveira, 20, came back at him in the home straight, winning the race at the line in 21.45sec, seven-hundredths of a second ahead of Pistorius.
Pistorius then complained in a television interview that his fellow competitors were “a lot taller” and he was unable to compete with their stride length.
“You saw how far he (Oliveira) came back (down the home straight). We aren't racing a fair race... The regulations allow that athletes can make themselves unbelievably high,” he said.
He added that he had raised the issue with the IPC but it had fallen “on deaf ears”.
Spence said Pistorius had telephoned him directly six weeks ago about the blade length of his competitors but had told him that there were no infringements.
He attributed Pistorius' comments to the disappointment of losing his first 200m race in nine years and said they were “more than willing” to hear his concerns “in a less hostile environment than a packed Olympic Stadium”. – Sapa-AFP