Exclusive: Peacock rivalry with Pistorius set to be ended with rule change
Monday, 14 January 2013
January 14 - The Paralympic rivalry between South Africa's Oscar Pistorius (pictured right) and Britain's Jonnie Peacock (left) is set to come to an abrupt end after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ruled that male single and double leg amputees will not compete against each other at Rio 2016.
The controversial move follows the recent IPC Athletics Summit in Frankfurt, where it was decided that male T43 athletes (double leg amputees), will no longer compete against T44 athletes (single leg amputees).
"Male T43 and T44 athletes will be separated and run as individual classes," said a document on the issue seen by insidethegames.
"A decision on whether T43/44 female athletes will also be split was not made [at the IPC Athletics Summit].
"However, due to the numbers of athletes involved, it is thought likely that they will continue to run together."
The IPC Athletics Summit saw several bodies, including UK Athletics, provide suggestions and objections to all draft proposals from the IPC and even though an event programme has still not been finalised for Rio 2016, it was confirmed that single and double leg amputees are set to be separated.
The news will be a bitter blow to many Paralympic fans after the 100 metres T43/44 final at London 2012 proved one of the highlights of the Games when Peacock stormed to victory against Pistorius and company in front of a capacity 80,000 crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
The win made the 19-year-old from Cambridge an instant star and he will undoubtedly be disappointed with the news after recently hitting out at any move to split single and double amputees, suggesting it would dilute the competition.
"I want single and double leg amputees to run together because ultimately, if we split, that will lessen the competition and it won't be as tough," Peacock told insidethegames in a recent interview.
"If people say, it is too hard to win with mixed classes, then go train harder.
"I'd rather race against as many people as I can so I want it to stay as it is."
The change means that Pistorius is still set to meet Brazilian rival and fellow double leg amputee Alan Oliveira at Rio 2016 but the pair will not face the likes of Peacock, American's reigning T43/T44 world champion Jerome Singleton or America's London 2012 silver medallist Richard Browne, who are all single leg amputees.
Another proposed key change to the programme will see a greater spread of events across classes, disciplines and genders than before so even though the number of events will not change from 170, there will be more women's events.
There will also be a significant reduction in the number of medal events available for field events due to the IPC's decision to move to single class field events rather than multiple class field events.
A final draft of the medal event programme is due to be published by the IPC in the coming weeks but the programme itself will not be officially ratified until after the World Athletics Championships in Lyon in July.