PRETORIA, South Africa - Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is intent on becoming the first disabled runner to compete in the Olympics. And if track and field's governing body blocks his way, he insists his fight will not end.
The International Association of Athletics Federations ruled that his futuristic prosthetic racing blades give him an unfair edge. Pistorius said Friday he will appeal any ban on him competing against abled-bodied athletes. He is prepared to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
"I feel that it is my responsibility, on behalf of myself and all other disabled athletes, to stand firmly and not allow one organization to inhibit our ability to compete using the very tools without which we simply cannot walk, let alone run," Pistorius said. "I will not stand down."
The IAAF postponed until Monday a decision that determine whether the 21-year-old South African can compete in Beijing. The federation is expected to rule Pistorius is ineligible because he gets a mechanical advantage.
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 metres at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.
Gert-Peter Brueggemann, a German professor who conducted tests on the prosthetic limbs, said they give him a clear edge over able-bodied runners. But Pistorius said he was "even more resolute" in his belief that the "Cheetah" limbs to do not give him a boost.
"Should the IAAF elect to use this information to ban me from competing in IAAF sanctioned events, I will appeal this decision at the highest levels, while also continuing with my quest to race in the Paralympic Games and hopefully the Olympic Games," he said at a news conference.
Pistorius, a business management student nicknamed the "Blade Runner," has won many fans with his talent and grit.
"My dream is to compete in the Olympic Games," he said. "My times are close to qualifying standards. It is a goal that I am working toward."
The IAAF ruling was first expected Thursday but was postponed for a second time until Monday. The organization received a letter from Pistorius commenting on the Brueggemann study. IAAF president Lamine Diack and the 27-member IAAF Council will review the letter and the study before ruling.
IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said Pistorius' plans to appeal a ban would not be taken into consideration.
"It doesn't change anything for us," Davies said by telephone. "We will still make an announcement on Monday."
Pistorius's manager, Peet van Zyl, said if Pistorius is unable to compete in the Beijing Games, he will aim for other Olympics.
"If it doesn't happen in Beijing it is not going to be the end for us. Hopefully by 2012 in London, he might be on South Africa's Olympic team," he said.
Pistorius worked with Brueggemann in Cologne during two days of testing in November to see to what extent the j-shaped carbon-fibre "Cheetah" extensions differed from the legs of fully abled runners.
Brueggemann told Die Welt newspaper last month that Pistorius has "considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us."
Brueggemann and his scientists tested Pistorius' energy consumption and compared it with data of able-bodied 400-metre runners of the same speed.
Pistorius said he was disturbed Brueggemann discussed the results before he had received them himself and "can only wonder as to his motivation."
Ossur, the Icelandic company that manufactures Pistorius' blades, said the testing commissioned by the IAAF was incomplete and inconclusive and aspects of Brueggemann's results needed further investigation.
"Any judgment against Pistorius at this stage and based on insufficient information, would be irresponsible and unfair," the company said.
The IAAF adopted a rule last summer prohibiting "technical aids" deemed to give an athlete an advantage over another.
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 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 a Rome meet July 13 and two days later was disqualified for running out of his lane in Sheffield, England.