‘It’s tough to hear that from an idol’

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IOL pic sep4 paralympics oliveira pistorius Reuters Brazil's Alan Oliveira (left) celebrates in front of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius after winning the men's 200m T44 classification at the Olympic Stadium during the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Sunday. This classification is for athletes with an impairment that affects their arms or legs, including amputees.

London - Brazilian Alan Oliveira, the gold medallist in the men’s T43-44 200m final, was upset to hear Oscar Pistorius’s comments about his prosthetic blades, but did not want to get involved in an argument.

Pistorius responded with an emotional outburst after finishing second in the Paralympic event he was widely tipped to win in London on Sunday.

Having set a new T43 world record in 21.30 seconds in the heats the previous evening, it looked a certainty that South Africa's “Blade Runner” would defend the title he won at the two previous Games in Athens and Beijing.

Oliveira made up about eight metres in the finishing straight to overtake Pistorius at the finish line.

“It’s not just about the prostheses, there is training behind my performance,” Oliveira said.

“I get upset to hear this kind of thing. I’m inside the rules and I came here to celebrate and do not enter in any polemics.”

Immediately after the race, Pistorius raised concerns over the length of the prosthetic blades used by both Oliveira and American athlete Blake Leeper, who took the bronze.

“He is not a bad loser. Pistorius is a great athlete,” Oliveira said.

“I’m just sad with the interview where he said that my blades are too big.

“He was bothered by my time in the heats and wanted to get to me with this polemic with the blades, but it did not work.

“I still do not know with whom he is picking a fight. It’s not with me.”

Oliveira said he was disappointed because he had always admired the South African, who competed in the recently concluded able-bodied Olympics, but he said he drew his strength from all the support he had received in Brazil.

“For me, he is really a great idol and to listen to that coming from a great idol, it’s difficult.

“But I have my family, my girlfriend, the whole Brazilian people that supported me, and when I say Brazilian people, it’s literally everyone in Brazil.”

Pistorius apologised in the early hours of Monday morning for the timing of his comments and said he did not want to detract from another athlete’s triumph.

“That was Alan's moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him,” Pistorius said.

“I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport.

“I am happy to work with the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) who obviously share these aims... I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss it with the IPC, but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong.” - Sapa



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