Monte Carlo, Jan 15: World athletics officials have slammed the door on Oscar Pistorius's bid to run in the Olympics this year, but the plucky sprinter has not given up his dream.
Barred from the Beijing games by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), if he can"t get the ban reversed he will set his sights on the London Olympics in 2012. A disappointed Pistorius, who said on Friday that he would not give up his Olympic ambitions, did not speak to the media yesterday for fear of compromising the legal battle that might lie ahead.The Beijing Olympics are in August, so the South African “paralympian" has less than seven months in which to appeal against the IAAF decision.
Pistorius was disqualified by the IAAF on the strength of a finding by an independent investigation that his prosthetic limbs gave him an unfair advantage over other runners.
Pistorius, known as “Blade Runner" because of his carbon-fibre running legs, underwent two days of tests at the German Sports University, in Cologne, in November.
Professor Peter Bruggemann, who conducted the investigation,
compiled the report on which the IAAF based its decision.
On Friday, Pistorius reiterated his belief that his prostheses did not give him an unfair advantage and vowed: “I will not stand down."
Van Zyl said Pistorius had received the report two to three weeks ago and had had until January10 to respond to it.
“We consulted experts who told us that there were too many variables [in the tests conducted by Bruggemann] for such a dramatic decision," Van Zyl said.
“But the onus is now on us to prove the contrary."
Yesterday, Pistorius cancelled a training session so that he
could prepare his appeal against the ban.
He said he would consider all his options, including an appeal to the IAAF for more tests. As a last resort, he will take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Pistorius had been due to continue his training at the High Performance Centre, in Pretoria, yesterday afternoon but cancelled the session to discuss the IAAF report with his lawyer.
The world record-holder in the 100m, 200m and 400m track events for the physically disabled will continue to train for the Beijing Paralympics.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said it accepted the IAAF"s decision to bar Pistorius from taking part in any IAAF-organised event.
“If the rules say he has an unfair advantage, then it"s an unfair advantage.
We have to respect the IAAF decision," said Mark Alexander, the
committee"s vice- president.
“That"s what sport is about. Sport is a fair thing."