Paralympic Games
06 - 17 September

Pistorius Singles Out Singleton but Dismisses Leeper Threat

19 Jan 2011

South African ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius has singled out US sprinter Jerome Singleton as the man most likely to take his 100m sprint crown at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand but dismissed the threat of his teammate Blake Leeper.

Since Pistorius beat Singleton to gold in a photo finish at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games the two have developed a strong rivalry and been barely separable in a number of races over the last two seasons.

The two were expected to be the main contenders on Wednesday evening for the 100m T44 world title, however after posting a wind assisted time of 11.08 seconds in a warm-up meet last Friday in Sydney, Australia, many are now predicting that Singleton’s rookie teammate Blake Leeper could upstage both and take gold.

However, that’s not a view shared by the current World and Paralympic champion over 100m, 200m and 400m who believes the fact that this is Leeper’s first major Championships could cause him problems.

“I don’t think Blake is at all a threat,” said Pistorius. “Jerome Singleton is the guy to watch on that team.

“Blake’s time last week was with a 3.5m/s wind behind him. That might not sound a lot but in sprinting it’s massive. I’m sure if you gave me that back wind I’d break a world record. It’s a big assist.

“I think Blake Leeper ran a good time but experience will count for a lot.”

According to Pistorius, he was not surprised to learn that Leeper’s time - the fastest posted in two years - was wind insisted and predicts the 21 year old American is more likely to run 11.40 seconds in Christchurch.

Oscar Pistorius said: “When the guys said the wind assist was 3.5m/s, I was like that’s nothing. That guy is going to be nothing to worry about.”

Pistorius clearly has different views on Jerome Singleton, an athlete who the South African predicted after Beijing in 2008 would one day be the guy to take over from him.

“He’s got a start that matches mine and Marlon Shirley’s, he’s got a quicker top end speed and he’s a really top calibre sprinter,” said Pistorius of Singleton. “He’s not one of those guys who comes in for a year or two and disappears.

“He’s a pro athlete and he’s a guy who I think will definitely take it one day. He’s a 100m specialist and I’m not. He’s definitely the real deal.”

It’s not just the two Americans who Pistorius expects to challenge him for his 100m crown. He thinks there could be up to five contenders and is predicting a classic race on Wednesday evening at the QEII stadium.

Oscar Pistorius said: “I really have a lot of respect for a lot of the guys here and it’s going to be quite an exciting race. Whoever wins it is definitely going to deserve it.

“I think there are some other guys who are in with a good chance. We’ve got five guys in the race who have run 11.20 or 11.30 seconds in the last two years so it’s not going to be just me to beat.

“There is my teammate Arnu Fourie who is extremely quick, a Brazilian and the US boys. It’s going to be a very interesting race.”

The IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand open this Friday with races starting on Saturday 22 January until Sunday 30 January.

Tickets for the event cost $10 per adult and can be purchased from Spectators can also purchase tickets on each of the days of competition from the stadium ticket office.

In addition to the live coverage from Christchurch, Paralympic sports fans can also get the latest news, gossip and pictures from the World Championships via the IPC’s official Facebook page and Twitter