South African Paralympic team blade claim reignites Oscar Pistorius row


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The Independent Online

The Oscar Pistorius row was reignited today amid fresh allegations by the South African team that athletes were changing blades between races.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) received a letter yesterday morning claiming competitors had been breaking rules by altering prosthetic legs between qualifiers and finals.

Blades are measured between races and it is illegal under Paralympic rules to switch blades during a competition.

Pistorius sparked controversy with angry comments he made after losing out on gold in the 200 metres, claiming Alan Oliveira's use of longer blades gave him an unfair advantage.

Today Craig Spence from the IPC said: "When we put that allegation to the coaches there was a look of shock to be honest, because running on different size prostheses or swapping them for races is extremely difficult to do for an athlete.

"There is no evidence that any athlete competed on different size running blades.

"Unless the South Africans can come to us with some evidence that proves otherwise, it's something that we won't continue investigating."

Meanwhile Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, today defended the decision to invite politicians to medal ceremonies. During this afternoon's Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Ed Miliband said of the cacophony of boos which greeted George Osborne: "The Paralympic crowd spoke for Britain."

But for ParalympicsGB, the gold medal joy continued unabated as super cyclist Sarah Storey, 34, won her third title of the games.

She added to her two gold medals won in the 500m time trial and pursuit in the velodrome by winning the road race time trial at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Another win tomorrow and the swimmer-turned-cyclist, who has a partly formed left hand, will equal Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson's British female record of 11 Paralympic gold medals.

Her hat-trick of golds comes as Olympic star Victoria Pendleton claims there is "no reason" why top Paralympians should not compete alongside Team GB in Rio de Janeiro.

She said gold medallist Sarah Storey had "proved" herself countless times.

David Weir, 33, who last night won an electrifying 1,500m final in the Olympic Stadium, could get his third win after comfortably qualifying for tomorrow's 800m final.

He will also take part in Sunday's marathon on London's streets, and is favourite to make it a clean sweep of quadruple golds.

Tour de France and Olympic star Bradley Wiggins last night hailed Paralympians - including Weir - as "amazing athletes".

British sprint favourite Jonnie Peacock, 19, will start his quest for glory at the Olympic Stadium later today when he lines up for his 100m heat.

Peacock, from Cambridge, contracted meningitis as a child which left him in a coma, and doctors were forced to amputate his right leg below the knee.

He is already the fastest amputee in the world after setting the quickest ever time of 10.85 seconds in June.

Also appearing in a separate qualifier will be Pistorius.

The games gets physical today as wheelchair rugby - also known as murderball - gets under way as Britain takes on the United States.

The sport is so brutal that welders are on hand at the side of the pitch to patch up the battered equipment - which is pummelled during the incredibly physical matches.

Britain will take on the United States in the basketball arena this afternoon.

"The Quadfather" Peter Norfolk, 51, also bids to get his medal attempt back on track later as he takes part in the wheelchair tennis mens doubles with his partner Andy Lapthorne, after he suffered a shock defeat in the singles yesterday.