Athletics: Oscar Pistorius let off the hook before tussle with British blade runner
South African prepares for 100m battle with conqueror Oliveira as home hope Peacock hopes to ruffle a few feathers
Wednesday 05 September 2012
Oscar Pistorius will escape punishment for his outburst in the aftermath of his shock defeat in the T43/44 200m final on Sunday. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said that they would not be sanctioning the South African following his post-race protest that the Brazilian winner Alan Oliveira had an unfair advantage because of his elongated blades. "There will be no disciplinary action," said Craig Spence, communications director of the IPC.
Pistorius will be back in action in the Olympic Stadium tonight, running in the heats of the T43/44 100m. In addition to Oliveira, who improved his personal best by 0.43sec to win the 200m in 21.45sec, the 25-year-old will also have to contend with the razor-sharp British Blade Runner Jonnie Peacock.
Indeed, Peacock happens to be the fastest amputee in history. Running as a guest at the US Paralympic Trials at the University of Indiana in June, the 19-year-old from Cambridge clocked a stunning 10.85sec for 100m. In doing so, he broke the world record for the T44 single amputee category, held by Marlon Shirley of the USA. His time was also 0.06sec quicker than the T43 double amputee world record held by Pistorius since 2007.
Peacock lost his right leg below the knee after contracting meningococcal septicaemia at the age of five. His speed was spotted at a talent identification day held by the British Paralympic Association at London's Mile End Stadium four years ago. For the past 12 months he has been training as a full-time athlete at the UK Athletics National Performance Centre at Lee Valley in north London, under the direction of Dan Pfaff.
Pfaff guided Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey to Olympic 100m gold in Atlanta in 1996 and the American coach had a gold medal success at the 2012 Olympics in the shape of British long jumper Greg Rutherford. Peacock trains alongside Rutherford in an eclectic group that also includes pole vaulter Steve Lewis and javelin thrower Goldie Sayers.
"Jonnie is a very special talent," Rutherford said. "He is an amazing sprinter and I expect him to win at the Paralympics. The track in the Olympic Stadium is fast and I expect him to run around the 10.6secs mark or even faster.
"He expects to win as well and it's great to see someone who has that confidence in their ability. We give him a hard time, but he gets on well with the whole group. It is testament to Dan's hard work that he's doing so well. He's a really exciting prospect."
Peacock himself said: "It's a great group to be in. I do some work with Greg over 30m. He's very fast. It was absolutely brilliant when he won the Olympic final. I was so happy for him. He deserved it."
It was not the happiest of mornings on the track for Peacock's British team-mates yesterday.
Shelly Woods and Jade Jones both failed to qualify for the final of the women's T54 800m – to be held this evening.
Woods finished third in her heat in 1min 56.39sec and Jones was fifth in hers in 1:56.16. Woods, the two-time London Marathon winner from Lytham St Annes, admitted: "I just entered the 800m for some track time before the 1500m, so I wasn't really expecting to make the final. The 1500m and marathon are more my territory."
Similarly, the discus is more Bev Jones' territory than the shot, in which she placed seventh in the F37 final yesterday morning with a put of 9.85m. "I'm really looking forward to the discus," she said. "It's my main event and this has been a really good step up for that."
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