Pistorius storms out of BBC interview after ‘insult’
Double-amputee athlete is angered by suggestion that he is an ‘inconvenient embarrassment’
SOUTH AFRICAN double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius stormed out of an interview with the BBC yesterday after taking offence to the suggestion that he might be an "inconvenient embarrassment" to his country's sporting authorities.
Pistorius became the first ever Paralympian to win an able-bodied World Championship medal last week after helping South Africa claim silver in the 4x400m relay. However the athlete, nicknamed 'Blade Runner' on account of the 'legs' he uses when competing, was surprisingly dropped from the line-up for the final, leaving him "gutted". He received a silver medal for his efforts in the earlier stages but was not one of the four runners on the podium.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Rob Bonnet after the games, Pistorius was questioned about the relationship with his country's authorities. "Some people regard you, no doubt, as an inspiration to Paralympic athletes, no question about that," Bonnet started.
"But it might also be said that you're an inconvenient embarrassment to the South African authorities and the IAAF because, effectively, you're taking them into uncharted ethical waters here. What's your reaction to that?"
Pistorius replied: "I think that's an insult to me and I think this interview is over." Bonnet protested, denying that it was meant as a slur, but the runner was adamant, saying: "That is an insult. Thank you very much."
Pistorius's able-bodied career has been blighted by controversy. A dispute over the South African's 'blade' legs initially saw him banned from competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by the International Association of Athletics Federations, who found that he gained an advantage over competitors by burning less energy during races.
That decision was quickly overruled, though Pistorius eventually failed to qualify for the Games. He has since made it into South Africa's 4x400m relay team, but was told he could only run in the first leg of the race due to safety concerns. Pistorius says he hopes to be compete in both the Olympics and the Paralympics in London next summer.
Tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics go on sale later this week. ·
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