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Oscar Pistorius set to discover future

4 March 2008
bbc.co.uk

Double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius will hear later this month if the Court of Arbitration (CAS) for Sport will allow him to run at the 2008 Olympics.

In January, athletics' governing body said he could not race in able-bodied events because his prosthetic limbs give him an unfair advantage.

The 21-year-old South African disagrees and has subsequently undergone tests in the US in an attempt to prove his case.

The CAS will announce its decision on 25 March.

The IAAF ruling was based on studies it commissioned by German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who concluded they gave Pistorius an edge because he uses 25% less energy than an able-bodied runner.

Pistorius conceded the tests were done "very professionally", but said he had been told by other experts they were not comprehensive enough.

"There are several institutions in the United States who have given us a contradictory opinion to Professor Brueggemann," said the South African.

"It's unfortunate it has come to this because I would have preferred to keep this within the athletics family.

"But if that's the way it has to be then that's the way it has to be. Unfortunately it has to happen this way if we want fairness.

"I am appealing for all disabled athletes. We deserve a chance to compete at the highest level."

Even if the IAAF decision was overturned, he would still need to qualify for the South African team to race at the Beijing Olympics.

The athlete said his schedule would be seriously affected by the ruling because about 80% of his races are able-bodied events.

Pistorius was born without fibulas - the long, thin outer bone between the knee and ankle - and was 11 months old when his legs were amputated below the knee.

He began running competitively four years ago to treat a rugby injury, and nine months later won the 200m at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.

Nicknamed the "Blade Runner," Pistorius has set world records in the 100m, 200m and 400m in Paralympic events.

He finished second in the 400m at the South African national championships last year against able-bodied runners.



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