Pistorius is a Paralympian through and through, claims IPC President

Tuesday, 23 August 2011
By Tom Degun in London

sir_philip_craven_23-08-111August 23 - Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has stated he would be happy to see sprinter Oscar Pistorius compete at the London 2012 Olympics next year because he is sure the South African is 100 per cent committed to the Paralympic Games.

The double leg amputee has qualified for the 400 metres in the able-bodied World Championships in Daegu, which begin later this week, and he looks increasingly likely to compete over the distance at the Olympics in the English capital next year.

There has been concern over the issue from high profile figures, including Britain's 11-time Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson who told insideworldparasport last week that Pistorius' events should be banned from the Paralympics so that the Games does not become a B-standard event to the Olympics.

However, Sir Philip, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, said he is happy to see Pistorius compete at the Olympic Games because he knows that the South African views the Paralympics as the pinnacle.

"I know Oscar well and I do not believe his involvement in the Olympics will detract from the Paralympics," said Sir Philip here at a press conference in the British Paralympic Association (BPA) headquarters at Charlotte Street.

"I welcome the news that he wants to compete at the Olympics but I know that Oscar is a Paralympian through and through.

"He has shown he is committed to Paralympic sports and he is a Paralympian to the core.

"He competed in the BT Paralympic World Cup and will be with us on International Paralympic Day in Trafalgar Square on September 8.

"His desire to compete in the Paralympics cannot be questioned."

Oscar_Pistorius_23-08-11
Tim Hollingsworth, the new chief executive of ParalympicsGB, added that he fully respects the comments of figures such as Baroness Tanni and admitted the subject was a slight grey area but that his organisation supported Pistorius competing at the Paralympics.

"Someone of Tanni's great experience and stature, with her huge knowledge, should certainly be listened to and she clearly made a valid point that shows that this is not a black and white issue by any stretch of the imagination," Hollingsworth told insideworldparasport.

"But the view that I have and the BPA have is that Oscar as an individual is not harming the Paralympic Movement but rather supporting it.

"He has not only committed himself to the Paralympics but by in competing the way he is, he is demonstrating the world class nature of Paralympic sport.

"He is a figurehead for the Paralympic Movement and just as the Olympics has no bigger than Usain Bolt, we have our Usain Bolt in Oscar Pistorius and that is fantastic.

"I don't know Oscar nearly as well as Sir Philip or anything like that but I do know that it is the Paralympics that matters most to him."

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