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Sun Apr 20 21:07:19 SAST 2014

Real reason Oscar lost at Paralympics

Sports staff and Sapa-AFP | 04 September, 2012 06:300 Comments
Oscar Pistorius congratulates Brazil's Alan Oliveira, who won the men's 200m T44 at the Paralympic Games in London on Sunday. Pistorius contends he was at a disadvantage, but evidence does not back this up

SHEER speed, not unfair equipment, beat Oscar Pistorius in the 200m at the Paralympics, according to a prominent sports scientist.

South Africa's double amputee had claimed Brazilian sprinter Alan Oliveira had longer prosthetics, which had helped him to win the gold medal in London on Sunday night. Pistorius, a strong favourite, finished second.

Yesterday, Ross Tucker, a sports scientist at the University of Cape Town, disputed the longer prosthetics theory.

"Since Oscar Pistorius has made a point to emphasise how long his rivals' strides are I watched the race again and did the obvious thing: I counted the strides," Tucker wrote on The Guardian's Paralympics blog.

He said Pistorius took 92 steps during the 200m race (2.2m per stride), and Oliveira 98 steps (2m per stride).

"To break it down further: in the first 100m, Pistorius took 49 steps (2m per stride), with 43 steps in the straight (2.3m per stride)," said Tucker.

"Oliveira, on the other hand, took shorter strides: 52 in the first 100m (1.92m each) and 46 in the second 100m (2.2m each).

"So, a simple count shows that Pistorius has longer strides than Oliveira, and they are consistently longer - on the bend, and in the straight - for those who are wondering. It's Alan who 'can't compete with Oscar's stride length'. His faster speed, then, is the result of faster leg movement."

Yesterday, Pistorius apologised for his outburst after losing his T44 200m title, but hit out at the International Paralympic Committee, claiming it had not been a fair race.

He said he had been at a disadvantage caused by artificial leg length because the regulations allowed athletes to make themselves "unbelievably high".

Oliveira runs on carbon-fibre blades, similar to those Pistorius uses.

"I would never want to detract from another athlete's moment of triumph and I want to apologise for the timing of my comments after [Sunday's] race," Pistorius said.

"I do believe that there is an issue here, 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 International Paralympic Committee, which obviously share these aims."

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Real reason Oscar lost at Paralympics

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