Brazil’s Alan Oliveira (L) celebrates in front of South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius after winning the men’s 200m T44 classification at the Olympic Stadium during the London 2012 Paralympic Games September 2, 2012. This classification is for athletes with an impairment that affects their arms or legs, including amputees. (REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)
By Toby Davis
LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Oscar Pistorius complained vociferously about the length of his opponent’s blades after he was beaten into second by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira in the men’s 200 meters final at the London Paralympic Games on Sunday.
South African Pistorius streaked into an early lead and was almost 10 meters ahead as the athletes came into the home straight, before the Brazilian launched an astonishing fightback.
Oliveira ate up the ground and surged past Pistorius in the final few meters.
The underdog finished with a time of 21.45 seconds, seven hundredths of a second ahead of Pistorius, who won gold in the event four years ago in Beijing, with American Blake Leeper in third.
The result left Pistorius seething about his opponent’s prosthetic blades, which he claimed were too long.
“This is a really strong race of mine, and as I said in the mixed zone, the size of some of the other guys’ legs are unbelievably long,” Pistorius told Britain’s Channel 4.
“Not taking anything away from Alan, he’s a great athlete, but the guys who do the measuring in the courtrooms, some of these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete for stride length.
“We’re not racing a fair race. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have the regulations, but the regulations allow the athletes to make themselves unbelievably high. We tried to address the issue in the weeks leading up to this, but it fell on deaf ears.
“The guys are running ridiculous times. Alan is a great athlete, but I run just over 10 meters per second, so I don’t know how you can come back from eight meters behind after 100m to win. It’s ridiculous.”
Oliveira’s winning time was still 0.15 seconds slower than the world record set by Pistorius in Saturday’s heat.
The 25-year-old, dubbed the “Blade Runner”, was defending the 100m, 200m and 400m Olympic titles he won in Beijing four years ago. Last month, he became the first double amputee to run in the Olympics and made the 400 meters semi-finals.
“The length of my blades are alright because I went through all the procedures with the referees,” Oliveira said.
“Once I came inside the track, it had all been cleared up and I think Pistorius also knows that.
“I have been using them for a whole month; just the same blades, according to the IPC rules …
“I am very happy, I have written my story on the Paralympic wall.”