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Thu Apr 24 10:31:12 SAST 2014

Oscar can run any 'leg' of relay

Sports staff | 17 July, 2012 06:550 Comments
Yellow Pages South African Senior Championship: Day 2
Oscar Pistorius during the South African Championship at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on April 14, 2012 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Image by: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images

OSCAR Pistorius brings the curtain down on his Olympic Games preparations tonight in Lignano, Italy, where he will run the 400m.

Twenty-three days from now he will be lining up for the men's 4x400m relay, becoming the first amputee to compete at an Olympics.

There had been some debate about which leg of the relay Pistorius would be allowed to run. It was believed that the only role for him would be to start, when the runners keep to their own lanes for the first lap.

There had been fears that Pistorius's "blades" - his carbon-fibre prostheses - would endanger rivals once the race got beyond lap one and runners headed for the inside of the track. The danger, it was felt, would be compounded in the changeovers, which can be a rough business.

These fears were raised by Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF.

But the International Association of Athletics Federations said it has no problem whichever of the four legs Pistorius runs. A spokesman for the world athletics body said there had been no policy shift by the organisation.

Last year, at the world championships in Daegu, the decision for Pistorius to run the first leg was taken by Athletics SA.

ASA is likely to leave the decision on where Pistorius runs to the relay team and the coaching staff.

Pistorius failed to qualify for the 400m individual race, as he had not recorded enough qualifying times, but he was selected for the race anyway, as he was going to be in London as part of the relay squad.

The SA Olympic Committee was criticised for including Pistorius when Simon Magakwe, a 100m sprinter, was excluded even though he'd run six Olympic qualifying times.

But none of these times was recorded outside of South Africa as demanded by the national committee.

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Oscar can run any 'leg' of relay

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