London: South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius apologised on Monday for the timing of his outburst after losing his T44 200m title, but insisted there was an issue with large prosthetics lengthening an amputee’s stride.
Pistorius, the star of the London 2012 Paralympics, was sensationally beaten into the silver medal position by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira on Sunday, in a result that stunned the Olympic Stadium.
The 25-year-old then hit out at the International Paralympic Committee, claiming it was not a fair race and he was at a disadvantage caused by artificial leg length, as the regulations allowed athletes to make themselves “unbelievably high”.
Pistorius is set to meet with the IPC to raise his concerns. The South African, who had both legs amputated below the knee as an infant, runs on carbon fibre blades, as does Oliveira.
“I would never want to detract from another athletes’ moment of triumph and I want to apologise for the timing of my comments after yesterday’s race,” the South African said in a statement.
“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.
“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 who obviously share these aims.”
IPC communications director Craig Spence said: “We’ve agreed we will meet again with our science and medical director, Peter van de Vliet, for Oscar to share his concerns with the IPC. That meeting will be set up in due course. Oscar shared his concerns with us. We will meet to discuss what he’s got to say.”
Any changes made by Pistorius to his blades would be subject to intense scrutiny.
The South African took the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2008, challenging their assertion his blades caused an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes.
Following the CAS verdict, Pistorius was free to run in the London 2012 Olympics.
Spence said: “There are rules in place with IPC athletics whereby we measure the length of the blade prior to competition, check they're in proportion with the body and all of the athletes last night passed the test, so yes, he (Oliveira) was a legitimate winner.
“The IAAF, who govern able-bodied athletics, they ruled on the Oscar Pistorius case a number of years’ ago. Therefore they’re the best people to answer (whether Oliveira would be permitted to compete in Olympic competition).”