SACRAMENTO, CA. –Blake Leeper, a Paralympic sprinter just days off a two-year suspension for a positive cocaine test, broke Oscar Pistorious’s T43 world record in the 400 meters. Leeper ran 45.25 at the semifinals of the USATF Outdoor Championships; the old Pistorious records was 45.39 seconds. Leeper finished seventh in his semi and did not advance to the final.
T43 is the classification for athletes with two below-knee amputations. In addition to his disability, Leeper admitted last year that he was an alcoholic, and that heavy drinking led him to the situation that caused his positive cocaine test. He won an appeal to USADA to get the two-year cocaine ban cut to a year, but then the ban was returned to the original two years by the International Paralympic Committee.
The 27-year-old Leeper has never won Paralympic gold; he was second and third behind Pistorious in the 400 and 200 in 2012. Pistorious is currently serving a prison sentence for killing his girlfriend in 2013.
BY Dennis Young