Claims of unfair advantage still rankle with Pistorius


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The Independent Online

Oscar Pistorius heads into his final pre-Olympic test tonight admitting his frustration at the lingering suggestion in some quarters that he might gain an unfair advantage with his carbon fibre prosthetic blades. "It irritates me when I read something and the facts aren't there," the South African 400m runner said.

The first double amputee chosen to compete in the Olympic track-and-field arena was speaking on the eve of his appearance in the annual invitation meeting in the Italian town of Lignano. He continued: "They make it sound like I'm the only athlete running on these prosthetic legs but they have been around since 1996. Tens of thousands have used them and none are as fast."

Pistorius was named in South Africa's Olympic squad, after clocking an A standard 400m qualifying time of 45.20sec in Pretoria in March. In 2008, the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled that his carbon fibre blades gave him an unfair advantage but the decision was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"It was a unanimous decision," Pistorius added. "None of my competitors have any issue. A lot of them compete against Paralympic athletes in their own country. If the administration has not got a problem and if my competitors have not got a problem why should others?

"In the testing in 2008, it was not just one isolated thing, not just the ankle or the muscle. They looked at ligaments, muscle, and the knee joint in relation to the ankle joint. All these pros and cons were looked at, and the net advantage and disadvantage."

10 days to go to the Games

10: Weight of a glove in ounces used by all Olympic boxers. No more than half the weight can come from the leather part.