Pistorius sorry for timing of outburst
South African "blade runner" Oscar Pistorius has expressed regret over the timing of his outburst following his shock loss to Brazil's Alan Oliveira in the 200 metres final at the London Paralympic Games yesterday.
Pistorius streaked into an early lead and was almost 10 metres ahead as the athletes came into the home straight, but the Brazilian made a stunning fightback and surged to victory over the final few metres.
The result left the South African double amputee, who was defending his 100m, 200m and 400m Paralympic titles from Beijing, seething, and he claimed his opponent's prosthetic blades were too long.
In a statement today, the sprinter stuck to his claim but apologised for raising his concerns immediately after.
"I want to apologise for the timing of my comments, but I do believe that there is an issue here," said Pistorius (25), who last month became the first double amputee to run in the Olympics and made the 400 metres semi-finals.
"I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong. That was Alan's moment, and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him. 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."
Paralympic organisers today said Pistorius had raised concerns about another athlete's blades six weeks ago as well as expressing concerns about IPC rules in the run up to the Games.
After their initial meeting last night,k they promised to meet him again to discuss the issues he raised.
"After the race Oscar was clearly upset and disappointed to have lost his first 200m race in nine years and requested a meeting," the IPC's director of communications, Craig Spence, said today,.
"Oscar is a proud Paralympian and a fantastic ambassador of the Paralympic movement. . . . We met with him and he shared his views, he was clearly very emotional so we agreed we would take his comments away and arrange a meeting at a later date in a less hostile environment than the cauldron of an Olympic stadium straight after a race."
IPC rules governing the length of prosthetics are determined by a complicated formula that involves measuring from the chest to the amputated limb and the arm span. This is converted into a height prediction and a maximal height is used to asses the length of prosthetics.
"When these formulas were developed they were discussed with athletes and coaches and feedback collected," the IPC's medical and scientific director Dr Peter van der Vliet said.
"We got notice that it was the best system in place and we could go with it."
As Pistorius also competes against able-bodied athletes, his prosthetic blades have to satisfy the rules that govern non-Paralympic competition and, in his case, these regulations were decided after a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"Ultimately we have two governing bodies involved and it becomes quite a challenge to harmonise the rules in this regard," Dr Van der Vliet added. "It is important that we do have our own set of technical rules that are independent of variation to rule changes in other governing bodies."
Official broadcaster Channel 4 today announced the highest ever TV Paralympics audience for Pistorius’s controversial defeat in last night’s T44 200m final. A peak of 4.4 million tuned in to watch theSouth African.