MILAN, January 29, 2008 – Oscar Pistorius told a media gathering hosted by AIPS and Italy’s leading sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday that he did not want to run on an advantage and will concentrate on a campaign to compete against able bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics now his run may have been left too late to qualify for Beijing.
The IAAF council voted unanimously in January to rule the South African double amputee who holds Paralympic records in the 100, 200 and 400 m ineligible to compete at the Olympics or any other IAAF-sanctioned race.
Pistorius met with local and international media as well as a number of high profile sports administrators at the invitation of AIPS and said he was unable to run in qualifiers for Beijing so he would look towards 2012. The encounter was webcast live from the Gazzetta dello Sport’s website.
The IAAF ruling banning Pistorius from Olympic competition was made after extensive biomechanical testing in Germany found that the self-titled “fastest man on no legs” used prosthetic racing “Cheetah” blades which give him a technical advantage. The results were leaked late December to Die Welt newspaper by German biomechanics Professor Peter Bruggemann who conducted the testing in Cologne.
Speaking to AIPS Media following the press event, Pistorius said his racing blades did not use springs or hydraulics and were a passive device; therefore he did not accept the ruling that the blades gave him an advantage.
“If I had thought that these prosthetics gave me an advantage then I would have changed something”, explained Pistorius. “I don't want to run on an advantage.''
(IAAF Rule 144.2 prohibits the ``use of any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides the user with an advantage”)
“I was really shocked and very disappointed when the results of the report came out before we received them as we had an agreement with the IAAF,” Pistorius said. “It was rough to find out through the media”.
When asked what his plan of attack was now, Pistorius said he would use the Court for Arbitration in Sport as a last resort and intended to submit himself to further biomechanical testing.
The young sprinter’s manager Peet Van Zyl added that they were happy for Bruggemann to do the IAAF-sponsored testing as he came highly recommended.
“Oscar and I are not biomechanical experts and since December 19 we have circulated the report to various experts in the States who then came back and said not enough variables were addressed and more comprehensive testing was needed to reach a decision of this magnitude. We do not accept the test result and will lodge a formal appeal to IAAF. An appeal to CAS would be a last resort.
“The most important thing is to get Oscar back on the track. In order to qualify he has to run. Athletics South Africa has been accommodating him over the past four years. He has run more able bodied races than disabled in his life and unfortunately ASA feel they have to abide by the rules”.
Pistorius finished second in the 400 m at the South African national championships last year against able-bodied runners.
When asked what communication they have had with the South African athletics governing body Van Zyl said there had been no formal communication.
“We’ve only read what’s been in the papers and a statement to the media from ASA. It’s very disappointing to us as they should have at least made some contact. They were phoning me to ask what was happening”!
Van Zyl said he and his young charge had conducted discussions with legal firms who are prepared to take on the case.
“We feel they would be the best to guide and prepare an appeal to the IAAF but at the end of the day the onus remains on us.
“We will gather a panel of experts acceptable for all concerned and engage an accredited lab to do testing once everything is in place and fly Oscar to wherever the lab is based and then take all the evidence.
“It might happen quickly or over time....the chances of him going to Beijing might not be a realistic target, his main aim is to defend his Paralympics 200 m title and win gold in the 100 and 400m. Hopefully he’ll make London. He’ll only be 25 years old, a good age for a sprinter”.
Pistorius added that the competition is what makes him a better runner.
“I would rather come second running a good time than first in a race if I had an advantage. I don’t want to run on an advantage”.
Below: Oscar Pistorius