Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Pistorius pipped in shock defeat

Gold medal winner Alan Oliveira, left, shakes hands with Oscar Pistorius after the men's 200m T44 race (AP/Matt Dunham)

The Olympic Stadium witnessed a huge shock as Paralympic poster boy Oscar Pistorius was pipped to the post in the final of the T44 200m.

The gold was snatched from the 25-year-old South African in the thrilling final by Brazil's Alan Oliveira in a time of 21.45 seconds.

A frustrated Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner, claimed after the race that the length of his rival's running blades gave him an advantage.

Pistorius made history last month when he became the first amputee sprinter to compete in an Olympics.

He received a huge ovation from the capacity crowd after his crossover into non-disabled competition made him a Paralympic icon.

The atmosphere in the stadium for the eagerly-anticipated race was electric from the silent start to the raucous finish. Spectators jumped to their feet waving flags and screamed the words "Come on Oscar" as he rounded the bend and powered down the home stretch looking to have the gold in the bag.

But Oliveira came back from behind and was right beside him as they crossed the line. There was a stunned quiet from the crowd which had previously let out a deafening roar and the double amputee from Johannesburg looked bewildered.

Following the race Pistorius, who clocked a time of 21.52 to claim the silver medal, made it clear he did not feel he was running on a level playing field, with some of his competitors' running blades longer than he believes they ought to be.

"As I said yesterday, the IPC don't want to listen," he told Channel 4. "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 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."

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