Bladegate: Issue raised six weeks ago
Share this article:
The International Paralympic Committee said yesterday it was considering whether to 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 was unlikely that they would, however, after the committee’s spokesman also admitted yesterday that Pistorius, the most recognisable face in Paralympic sport, had asked them to check the length of the blades of one of his competitors six weeks ago.
After finishing second to Brazil’s Alan Oliveira, Pistorius vented his frustration at the increased length of the new Paralympic champion’s blades, saying that the “committee “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 towered above him after the race, was almost a full head shorter than him wearing “normal” |prosthetics.
“Oscar phoned me six weeks ago to complain about one athlete and his blade length,” said Craig Spence, the committee’s communications officer.
“Within five hours of receiving that phone call we replied that the athlete in question was perfectly legitimate.
“It wasn’t Oliveira that he had the concerns about… 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 he had been wrong with the timing of his criticism of the rules regarding the maximum allowed length of the carbon-fibre blades that amputee athletes may use.
He congratulated Oliveira on beating him in the 200m, the first time he has been beaten over the distance, but he did not back down from his criticism of the International Paralympic Committee or the rules. The Team SA management welcomed Pistorius’s apology for his outburst and said they would back him if he wished to take the matter further.
“We note and welcome Oscar’s apology for anything said in haste, and we obviously fully understand that he was emotionally upset immediately after such an important event,” said its CEO Tubby Reddy.
“We’ll sit down with Oscar and discuss his concerns and look to address those.
“He has our full backing.”
Spence also said the International Paralympic Committee would take into account that Pistorius had been emotional when they consider any potential sanction against him.
“That’s something that 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 which he wants to raise with us and the emotion got to him last night.
“At the moment we don’t know, but will make a decision.”
The committee would also discuss any concerns Pistorius had after the Paralympics.