DOUBLE amputee runner Oscar Pistorius cut short an interview yesterday after taking offence at being asked whether South African track chiefs might view him as “inconvenient” and “an embarrassment”.
Pistorius, known as Blade Runner because of his distinctive carbon fibre ‘legs’, became the first Paralympian to win a medal at an able-bodied world championships when he helped his country claim silver in the 4x400m relay in Daegu at the weekend.
However, the 24-year-old, who has been cleared to compete by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and intends to run at London 2012, was dropped from the line-up for the final, leading to speculation that South Africa might be trying to pre-empt any possible controversy.
Asked yesterday by BBC reporter Rob Bonnet whether, as well as an inspiration, he might be considered “an inconvenient embarrassment to the South African authorities and [world governing body] the IAAF because, effectively, you’re taking them into uncharted ethical waters here”, Pistorius snapped.
He replied: “I think that’s an insult to me and I think this interview is over.” When Bonnet protested, he reiterated: “That is an insult. Thank you very much.” Pistorius said yesterday he plans to compete not only at the London 2012 Olympics but also the Paralympics which follow immediately afterwards.
British Paralympic great Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has called for Pistorius to choose one or the other. But he said: “I want to compete in both. I will be running the 100m, 200m and 400m in the Paralympics. I’ve got to run one more qualification time for the Olympics between January and June next year.”