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Amputee Pistorius barred from Beijing Games

Roar Rookie
14th January, 2008
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South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, who runs with carbon fibre blades attached to his legs, will not be allowed to compete at this year’s Beijing Olympics.

A report commissioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and released today concluded that the prosthetics used by Pistorius gave him a significant advantage over able-bodied runners.

Last year, the IAAF amended its rules to ban the use of any technical device incorporating springs, wheels “or any other element that provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device”.

The IAAF’s ruling council agreed that Pistorius should not be allowed to run in Beijing or in any other meeting sanctioned by the world governing body.

A study, carried out by Professor Peter Bruggeman at the German Sport University in Cologne, compared Pistorius with five able-bodied athletes of similar ability.

“Pistorius was able to run with his prosthetic blades at the same speed as the able-bodied sprinters with about 25 percent less energy expenditure,” the report concluded.

It said the returned energy from the prosthetic blades, known as “cheetahs”, was close to three times higher than the ankle joint.

“It is evident that an athlete using the Cheetah prosthetic is able to run at the same speed as able bodied athletes with lower energy consumption,” the report added.

Last July Pistorius ran in the 400 B race at the Golden Gala in Rome, finishing second. Two days later he finished last in wet conditions in Sheffield, Britain, and was then disqualified for running out of his lane.

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Pistorius, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because he was born without fibulas, won a gold and bronze at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.