MONTE CARLO, Monaco – The IAAF was expected to announce Monday whether double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is eligible to race in the Beijing Olympics.
The International Association of Athletics Federations has twice postponed the ruling, which is widely expected to go against Pistorius.
The 21-year-old South African runs on curved, prosthetic racing blades called “Cheetahs.” German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann conducted tests on the prosthetic limbs and said they give Pistorius a clear competitive advantage over able-bodied runners.
Pistorius could still appeal any decision, including taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Pistorius worked with Brueggemann in Cologne for two days of testing in November to learn to what extent the j-shaped carbon-fibre extensions to his amputated legs differed from the legs of fully abled runners.
Brueggemann told Die Welt newspaper last month that, based on his research, Pistorius “has considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us.”
“It was more than just a few percentage points. I did not expect it to be so clear.”
Brueggemann and his scientists tested Pistorius’ energy consumption and compared it with data of able-bodied 400-metre runners of the same speed.
The IAAF adopted a rule last summer prohibiting the use of any “technical aids” deemed to give an athlete an advantage over another.
Ossur, the Icelandic company which is a leader in the production of prosthetics, braces and supports and also made Pistorius’ blades, has said the blades do not provide an edge over able-bodied athletes.
Pistorius has set world records in the 100, 200 and 400 in Paralympic events. To make the Olympics in Beijing, Pistorius would still need to qualify for the South African team and make the qualifying times.
Pistorius 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.
He began running competitively four years ago to treat a rugby injury, and nine months later won the 200 in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
Pistorius – nicknamed the “Blade Runner” – competed in the 400 at two international-level able-bodied meets in 2007. He finished second in a B race in 46.90 seconds at the Golden League meet in Rome on July 13 and, two days later, was disqualified for running out of his lane in Sheffield, England.