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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 12:34 UK

Pistorius places kit row on hold

Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius has been an outspoken critic of the South African team's preparations

Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius has placed an argument with his South African governing body on hold to ensure he focuses on gold at the Games.

Sprinter Pistorius, 21, has expressed anger at a delay in receiving his kit, as well as travel arrangements.

"There are definitely issues that need to be raised when I get home but this isn't the time," said Pistorius.

South Africa's Paralympic athletes are under pressure to perform following the Olympic team's disappointing showing.

Khotso Mokoena claimed the country's only Olympic medal, taking silver in the long jump, and the South African government has demanded a report into the team's failure to deliver more.

You expect all those things to be taken care of and not for the athletes to have to check up

Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius has the potential to beat that mark on his own, as he competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints.

Dubbed "Blade Runner", the double amputee competes with the aid of specially adapted carbon fibre blades.

"I've got to perform, regardless of external factors," he said on arrival in Beijing, adding that the team's flight had seen athletes crammed into economy class.

"I can understand if the group can't fly business class but then they've got to look at alternatives," he said.

"You expect all those things to be taken care of and not for the athletes to have to check up.

"We received our kit today, which I think was way too late, but these are things I can't let influence my game."

The South African Olympic Committee earlier expressed "grave concern (that) he did not address his concerns to us."

It said the kit delay had been caused by athletes requesting a new version, which could not be manufactured before their departure.

The committee has also been forced to defend outfits issued to South African Paralympians for Saturday's opening ceremony.

Pistorius, who compared the outfits to badly-stitched pairs of pyjamas, joined the rest of his team in voting to scrap the garments in favour of black suits worn at last week's farewell banquet.

Pistorius described the clothing as "something I would be embarrassed to wear in front of millions of people while representing South Africa".

"Personal taste obviously dictates what an athlete finds acceptable to wear or not," said the committee in a statement, adding they had "noted the concerns of certain athletes" regarding the clothing.

see also
Pistorius fails to make Olympics
18 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Pistorius on form in track return
01 Jun 08 |  Paralympics
Pistorius eligible for Olympics
16 May 08 |  Athletics
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
Paralympics on the BBC
25 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
GB Paralympic team for Beijing
24 Jul 08 |  Paralympics

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