Battle of the blade runners
LONDON – Oscar Pistorius was dethroned last night as young Brazilian Alan Oliveira stole his Paralympic T44 200m crown with a powerful run, topping a successful night on the track for the South American nation.
But the 25-year-old Pistorius hit out after his shock silver that silenced the 80,000-strong crowd at the Olympic Stadium, complaining he was at a disadvantage because of the length of some of his rivals’ artificial running blades.
“The IPC (International Paralympic Committee) don’t want to listen,” the South African “Blade Runner” told Britain’s Channel 4 television. “The guys’ legs are unbelievably long. Not taking away from Alan’s performance, he’s a great athlete.
“But these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete with the stride length.
“You saw how far he (Oliveira) came back. We aren’t racing a fair race. I gave it my best.
“The IPC have their regulations. The regulations allow that athletes can make themselves unbelievably high. We’ve tried to address the issue with them in the weeks up to this and it’s just been falling on deaf ears.”
Pistorius, who had been seeking to defend all three of the T44 sprint titles he won in Beijing four years ago, said US bronze medallist Blake Leeper’s knee height, for example, was “like four inches (10cm) higher than it should be”.
“The guys are just running ridiculous times and they’re able to do so. I think Alan’s a great athlete but… I run just over 10 metres per second,” he added.
“I don’t know how you can come back, watching the replay, from eight metres behind on the 100 to win. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Twenty-year-old Oliveira’s unexpected victory was greeted with wild cheering from his compatriots and was the highlight of three golds among five medals for Brazil on the night.
Earlier, Terezinha Guilhermina retained her T11 200m title in a clean sweep of medals that saw Jerusa Geber Santos take silver and Jhulia Santos bronze.