Peacock powers into final
British teenager Jonnie Peacock roared into the 100 metres final at the Olympic Stadium tonight as the great blade debate took another twist.
- Related Content
The 19-year-old, who looked relaxed and confident in his blocks, defeated Oscar Pistorius' conqueror as he clocked 11.08 seconds into a stiff head wind, equalling the T44 Paralympic record.
It was a baptism of fire for Peacock, who lined up against American world champion Jerome Singleton and Brazilian Alan Fonteles Oliveira, the 200m gold medallist whose long blades so incensed Pistorius.
Only the top two advanced along with two fastest losers, but the Cambridgeshire athlete is not the world record holder with a best of 10.85secs for nothing.
Peacock, who trains under former Olympic 100m champion Donovan Bailey's former coach Dan Pfaff, said: "It was nuts out there when they called my name and my mates and family were by the start line and it relaxed me. I haven't been nervous at all.
"I'll have to go back now and look at the video, the end of the race wasn't as controlled as I'd like it to be.
"I need to keep my core stronger and my start could have been better, but that race into that kind of wind (a 1.6m/s head wind) could have been worth 10.90 or 10.95, which would have been my fastest ever first round. I'll come back stronger tomorrow.
"I expected a few of the guys to push me more to be honest, I didn't think I'd win by so much, so I'm happy."
Peacock, who lost his right leg below the knee to meningitis aged five, easily finished ahead of Singleton, who was second in 11.46s.
Oliveira was third in 11.56, but made it through as a fastest loser.
Afterward Singleton appeared to back up Pistorius' claim that the athletes were not running on a level playing field, saying it was time to split the classes.
Pistorius, who won his heat, launched an outspoken attack after his 200m defeat on the length of some of his rivals' blades.
Despite being billed a T44 race (single leg below-the-knee amputees), the races also include T43 runners, who are double amputees, like Pistorius and Oliveira.
Singleton said: "I think the T43s and T44s need to split classes. It's not apples to apples, it's apples to pineapples right now.
"If you want to keep us together you need to re-evaluate that formula to make sure it's a fair playing field for all the athletes, because single leg amputees, we don't really have too much manoeuvring when it comes to height."
The blade length for single-leg amputees, like Singleton, is obviously dictated largely by the length of their other leg.
Singleton added: "I think we need to re-evaluate the formula so we can come together and have an idea of an exact height for an athlete to run in, maybe have a variation of about one centimetre so you know you're racing the same athlete in all competitions.
"I think that people need to find the best way to find out what the height should be. Time changes, science changes too, we have to make sure it's fair to all competitors."
Pistorius, who himself cannot switch to longer blades if he wants to carry on competing in non-disabled competition as they have to conform to stringent IAAF regulations, reckoned Oliveira's blades were about four inches longer than his.
But he appeared unaffected by the storm he has caused with his comments by winning his 100m heat in 11.18.
The South African finished 0.16 ahead of American Blake Leeper, who also uses the longer blades. Tomorrow night's mouthwatering final looks too close to call.
Leeper, another T43 athlete, insisted he had no problem with Pistorius' criticism.
He said: "Emotions were running high, it just shows that he really cares about the sport which means a lot to us.
"He's had a long season this year, he's run in the Olympics, then come back in the Paralympics. That means a lot. It shows a lot of character.
"Some people agree, some people disagree (with what he said), but it shows he's a true competitor and he cares each and every race and that means a lot to me."
Pistorius has since admitted his outspoken attack, in which he publicly questioned International Paralympic Committee regulations was badly timed and has apologised.
The latest chapter in the blade saga rather overshadowed another medal for Britain and a second in two days for David Devine.
The Liverpool athlete, who finished third over 1500m last night, came from way back to add 800m bronze to his collection.
Devine looked well out of contention in the four-strong T12 race coming off the final bend, but came storming down the home straight to snatch a medal by 0.04.
The 20-year-old, who has a visual impairment, reeled in Cuban Lazaro Rashid to just pip him on the line.
"I had to go up to an official to find out where I'd come. When he told me, I was made up," said Devine.
"I don't do enough speed work to expect to be so successful in the 800m, so I was delighted to get a medal."