Pistorius gains sweet revenge over Oliveira


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The Independent Online

If vengeance is a dish best served on the chilly side, the marked drop in temperature in the London 2012 show case arena last night was entirely appropriate. Three days after being carved up in the battle of the Blade Runners in the T44 200m final, and getting all cut up about the size of their implements, Oscar Pistorius struck back against Alan Oliveira.

He did so in style, anchoring South Africa to victory in the 4x100m relay in a world record time, 41.78sec. In doing so, the 25-year-old had the satisfaction of holding off Oliveira on his triumphant passage down the home straight. The Brazilian and his team were subsequently disqualified, as were the third-place US quartet.

In the aftermath, Pistorius admitted that he, too, had made a mistake in the timing of his outburst on Sunday, when he accused Oliveira and the American Blake Leeper of gaining an unfair advantage because of the length of their carbon fibre prosthetic blades. "The last few days have been difficult," Pistorius said. "I've made a few mistakes.

"It's easy to be gracious when you win but to be humble when you lose is not so easy. I've had to learn that. Obviously I regret the timing of my comments and I've had to deal with the backlash, which has been tough. It's an issue I've raised many times but it was the heat of the moment and a mistake.

"I was the first person to bring up that topic and I got lashed for it but so many athletes have brought it up. Things are going through the right channels now. The timing of my comment wasn't great and I regret it. It was distasteful of me."

It emerged yesterday that South African officials had written to the International Paralympic Committee suggesting that some athletes were cheating by switching blades in mid-competition. And Pistorius's concerns on the lengths of blades allowed were echoed by the American Jerome Singleton.

"We need to come together and re-evaluate the formula," Singleton said. "As time changes, science changes too. We just have to make sure that it is fair to all competitors. Right now, it's like comparing apples to oranges."

Pistorius now has five Paralympic gold medals. A sixth is likely to follow when he defends his 400m title later in the week but his 100m crown appears to be at the mercy of Britain's burgeoning young Blade Runner.

In the 100m heats last night, Jonnie Peacock left Oliveira and world champion Jerome Singleton of the United States trailing helplessly in his wake. The 19-year-old from Cambridge also equalled the Paralympic record, clocking 11.08sec. Pistorius secured his place in tonight's final by winning the second heat in 11.18sec.

Peacock clocked a T44 single amputee world record of 10.85sec in May and the teenage training partner of Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford looked the classiest act last night. Relaxed and joking on the starting line, he left Singleton and Olivera in the blocks, finishing comfortably clear, with Singleton the runner-up in 11.46sec. Oliveira, third in 11.56sec, only made it to the final as one of the fastest losers.

"I expected a few of the guys to push me more, to be honest," Peacock said. "I didn't think I'd win by so much, so I'm happy."

Meanwhile, the British track and field medal count continues to rise. It is now up to 18, one more than the tally from Beijing, with four days of competition still remaining.

Last night Dorset's Bethany Woodward won a silver in the T37 200m, while Liverpool Harrier David Devine produced a storming finish to take bronze in the T12 800m final.