Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Oscar Pistorius not limited in relay
LONDON -- Double-amputee Oscar Pistorius will be allowed to run any part of the Olympic 4x400-meter relay at the London Games.
Pistorius was the leadoff runner in the semifinals of the relay last year at the world championships in South Korea after the IAAF had raised concerns that his carbon-fiber blades would endanger others in the race. South Africa won silver but Pistorius did not run in the final.
Pistorius will be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics after a four-year battle to overturn a ban. He is set to run in the individual 400 on Saturday and is expected to run in the relay next week.
IAAF president Lamine Diack said Tuesday it was fully up to the South African federation to decide on the make-up of the relay, raising the possibility that Pistorius will be running in the bunch once athletes leave their lanes after 500 meters.
Diack said if South Africa wants to let him run a different leg, "it can do so. It is no problem for us."
Pistorius has run several races this season in other relay legs when he was competing in a bunch, causing no problems. The IAAF remains with its advice that "common sense" shows it would make it safer to have him run in lanes.
"It is better he run the first leg because in the first leg you are in lanes," Diack said.
Last year, Pistorius was angered the South African federation put him in to lead off in the wake of the IAAF concern. As a slow starter, he would benefit from a running relay exchange later in the race.
Since the worlds, he said he was intent on running different parts of relays to show he is not a danger to other runners.
Diack conceded there was little the IAAF could do, especially since Pistorius ran the third leg at the African championships in Benin early this summer.
"That championship is only a step lower that a global championship," Diack said.