On High-tech Cheetahs and Blade Runners in Africa
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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has issued a ruling allowing the double-amputee South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius to compete at the Beijing Olmypics, overturning an International Association of Athletics Federations ban that barred him from competing. The IAAF ruled in January that the carbon-fibre “Cheetah” blades he uses give Pistorius, who runs the 400-meter sprint, a technical edge unavailable to other runners.
The unanimous decision by the Lausanne, Switzerland-based arbitration court clears the way for Pistorius to qualify for the South African team if he achieves the required times: 45.95 seconds, or 45.55 if another South African qualifies. Pistorius’s personal best at 400 meters is 46.46. He can also be chosen for the South African relay team.
Pistorius, 21, had both legs amputated below the knee when he was less than a year old. “These have always been my legs,” he told Jere Longman in a Times profile last year. “I train harder than other guys, eat better, sleep better and wake up thinking about athletics. I think that’s probably why I’m a bit of an exception.”