Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Paralympics: Pistorius blade barb could lead to change

Oscar Pistorius' concerns over the length of rivals' prosthetic blades could result in the International Paralympic Committee amending their rules.

South African Pistorius publicly questioned regulations governing blades immediately after being beaten to Paralympic gold in the T44 200 metres by Brazilian rival Alan Fonteles Oliveira.

Pistorius has since apologised for the timing of his criticism at the Olympic Stadium and is now set to meet with the IPC for discussions following his first 200m defeat in nine years. He had won the Paralympic title in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

“Last night was not the place to get out the rule book and propose how Oscar Pistorius would like to change our rules,” said Craig Spence of the IPC.

“What we need to do is have a meeting with all the experts.

“He might propose some changes, but out of credit to the athlete, who has done so much for the Paralympic movement, those comments he has shouldn't fall on deaf ears.”

The 25-year-old four-time Paralympic champion first raised objections over a rival's prosthetic running blades six weeks ago. That was not Oliveira, but the IPC were aware the issue could arise at the London 2012 Games. Spence stopped short of confirming if Pistorius could be punished.

The furore was sparked after Oliveira came from well behind to win gold in 21.45 seconds, leaving Pistorius to settle for silver in 21.52secs. Had Pistorius matched his world record heat run of 21.30 he would have won gold.

In a statement Pistorius apologised for the timing of his comments, but not the sentiment.

“I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC, but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong,” he said.

“I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC who obviously share these aims.”

It is understood Pistorius' objections relate to the formula used to calculate the maximal allowable height for each athlete.

The complex formula calculates the predicted height of an individual, plus 3.5% to allow for the on-toes running position.

It is applied in T42 (above knee amputee), T43 (double below knee amputee) and T44 (single below knee amputee) competition.

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