at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Ostrava – Double amputee Oscar Pistorius said Thursday that able-bodied athletes had no truck with him competing at the top table of the world athletics circuit.
The South African had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because of a congenital condition that meant he was born without fibulae – lower leg bones.
The 25-year-old runs with carbon-fibre artifical 'blades' and was cleared to compete at top level in 2008 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a ruling by the IAAF that his blades gave him an unfair advantage.
And speaking ahead of his 400m outing in this eastern Czech city on Friday, Pistorius again rejected suggestions that he has an advantage, saying that the technology behind his prosthetic blades had not changed for many years.
“We used the very best scientists in the world to conduct my tests. CAS made a decision and since 2008, I don't waste my time listening to any arguments that people may or may not bring up,” Pistorius said.
“There haven't been any discussions with any lawyers since 2008. I'd be the first to know about it.
“You always get a university professor wanting to make a name for himself, you always get someone who will try to tell you that white is black, black is orange, hot is cold, or cold is hot.
“As far as I'm concerned, that's been put to rest. They've made over 30,000 pairs of these prosthetic legs I'm using since 1996 and there's not another athlete who's even run even under 50sec in the 400m. So that's pretty self-explanatory.”
Pistorius added: “The prosthic legs, the Cheetah, have been around since 1996 and I've had the same shape since 2004.
“I'm not looking to increase my times or performance from any changes to the apparatus, it's all about training, recovery and diet... they make my performances better.”
Turning to the reacton of other athletes to him competing, Pistorius said: “This is my sixth international season and I have personal friendships with a lot of the guys I run against and I have a lot of respect for them.
“A couple of the guys I run against have come out to my house in South Africa for all-season training.
“They've seen how hard I've trained and how hard I prepared.
“The testing was maybe a good thing because I think there would always have been questions that would have been asked.
“Having to do the tests and having to go to CAS, maybe athletes that were worried before we did the tests, their worries have been put to rest after that.”
The test results that saw CAS clear him to compete, Pistorius concluded, were “comforting for myself and comforting for them as well”.
Pistorius failed to qualify for the 400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but went on to compete at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he made the 400m semi-final and won a silver in the 4x400m relay, although he did not race the final.
But his qualification for the London Olympics is not yet set in stone, with the one-lap specialist having to run one more qualifying time of 45.70sec or better to ensure he's done enough to make the plane for the British capital.
“This is my first 400m race in Europe,” he said of his outing in Ostrava, up against defending Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt.
“In the next two or three weeks, I'll find my form and then qualify hopefully.
“And then it's the Paralympic Games. It's a very tough competition and I'll be competing in the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100m relay so it's a lot of races but I'm looking forward to that experience just as much.” – Sapa-AFP