Amputee to compete with normal atheletes

Updated: 28 June 2007 15:17 IST

Champion amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is called the fastest thing on no legs and also the blade runner for his specially designed legs.

Amputee to compete with normal atheletes
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Pretoria, South Africa:

Champion amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is called the fastest thing on no legs and also the blade runner for his specially designed legs.

He could be the first disabled athelete to compete in the Olympics with the International Association of Atheletics Federations (IAAF) clearing him to run against able-bodied atheletes.

The 20-year old business student from Pretoria already holds the world record for the 100 metre, 200 and 400 metre races for disabled atheletes.

However sports administrators are wondering whether the double amputee is not disabled but rather enabled by his artificial limbs so much so that regular atheletes could end up complaining.

But Nick Davies, spokesman for the Monaco-based IAAF, said discussion of Pistorius competing in the Olympics was premature, noting the 20-year-old sprinter had not yet achieved the kind of times that would allow him to qualify.

"Oscar can compete. No one can stop him running," Davies said on Friday.

Artificial help

Pistorius's manager Peet Van Zyl, said he had heard from Davies over the weekend, and called his overture an about-face.

In March, the IAAF introduced a new rule banning any runner deemed to benefit from artificial help from competing. That had widely been interpreted as scuttling Pistorius's hopes of being the first disabled runner to compete in the Olympic Games, with his sights set on Beijing in 2008.

"They have changed their stance," Van Zyl said. "This is a totally different stance from when they introduced the rule change."

Van Zyl said now had to get Pistorius into "tiptop" shape for his international debut.

The 20-year-old Pistorius, who was born without fibula bones in his lower legs and was only 11 months when limbs were amputated from below the knee, said he hadn't yet been able to process the news.

Topics : Athletics
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