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Appeals Court Says Pistorious Can Compete In Olympics

By John M. Williams

The world is changing for the better when Oscar Pistorious, a double-leg amputee, is told by an international appeals court that he can compete with able-bodied runners in the Beijing Olympics this year.

Last Friday, in a unanimous decision and effective immediately the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the 21-year-old South African, who uses carbon fiber running legs, can race against able-bodied athletes. The decision reversed a January ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The ban said that Pistorious J-shaped Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics gave him unfair advantages over runners. The court did not find evidence supporting that claim.

"The panel was not persuaded that there was sufficient evidence of any metabolic advantage in favor of a double-amputee using the Cheetah Flex-Foot," CAS said. "Furthermore, the CAS panel has considered that the IAAF did not prove that the biomechanical effects of using this particular prosthetic device gives Oscar Pistorius an advantage over other athletes not using the device."

"I am ecstatic," Pistorius said in Milan, Italy. "When I found out, I cried. It is a battle that has been going on for far too long. It's a great day for sport. I think this day is going to go down in history for the equality of disabled people."

Pistorius must increase his speed by half a second in the 400 meter race to qualify. He is determined to accomplish that feat.

Pistorius said he will be running in both able-bodied and Paralympic events before Beijing, and in July he competes in Milan and the Golden Gala meet in Rome, also in July.

Oscar will be welcomed wherever he competes this summer," IAAF president Lamine Diack said in a statement. "He is an inspirational man and we look forward to admiring his achievements in the future." Pistorius holds the 400-meter Paralympic world record of 46.56 seconds, but that time is outside the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55.

Even if Pistorius fails to get the qualifying time, South African selectors could add the University of Pretoria student to the Olympic 1,600-meter relay squad as an alternate.

He still plans to compete in Beijing at the Sept. 6-17 Paralympic Games.

A long range planner, the 21-year-old Pistorious is all ready thinking of running in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

He 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.

Reproduced from http://www.atechnews.com/curryinterview.html

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