rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Pistorius can run where he likes in Olympic relay: IAAF

Pistorius can run where he likes in Olympic relay: IAAF

Last updated on: July 12, 2012 11:00 IST

Pistorius can run where he likes in Olympic relay: IAAF

     Next

Next

South Africa's double amputee Oscar Pistorius will not be forced to lead off in the Olympic 4x400 metres relay, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) said on Wednesday.

Pistorius, who wears carbon fibre blades and was cleared to compete against able-bodied athletes by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2008, was named in South Africa's relay team last week.

South African media reported that the IAAF would not allow Pistorius to run in anything but the first leg due to concerns over the safety of other athletes because of his prosthetics and the rough and tumble nature of relay changeovers.

An IAAF spokesman said the position had not changed since the world championships in Daegu last August.

"At the Daegu 2011 IAAF world championships the decision for Oscar Pistorius to run the opening leg of the 4X400 relay was taken by ASA (Athletics South Africa) and not by the IAAF," he said via email.

"Now it will be the same for the Olympic Games. The decision will be taken by Athletics South Africa. It was always like this."

Image: Ruan Greyling hands off the relay baton to Oscar Pistorius (left) during the Yellow Pages South African Senior Championship in April
Photographs: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images

     Next

'We won't give in to any outside interference over where Oscar is allowed to run'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

This, however, seemed to contradict what IAAF head Lamine Diack said last year.

"This person is a particular case," Diack said at the Daegu championships.

"The only thing we said to the South African federation is that if he wants to run in the relay, he must run the first leg to avoid danger to other athletes."

South Africa's Olympic chief Gideon Sam said on Wednesday that they will not seek an IAAF ruling over the matter.

Sam, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said it was up to the relay team and coaching staff to decide where Pistorius runs.

"We won't give in to any outside interference over where Oscar is allowed to run, that would amount to discrimination," Sam said.

"The debate over whether he gets an advantage from his blades is over and, like any relay team, be it athletics or swimming, it is now up to the team to decide where he runs."


Image: Oscar Pistorius
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Prev     Next

'We want to mainstream disabled people'

Prev     More
Prev

More

Pistorius failed to meet SASCOC's stringent qualification criteria for the 400m, but will still take part in the individual event because he is a member of the relay team.

Although he did not run in the final, he was part of the 4x400m team that won silver in Daegu and is South Africa's fastest runner over that distance this year.

"Oscar ran a qualifying time in South Africa and has worked very hard in running all over the world, so there's no reason not to include him," Sam added.

South Africa's deputy minister of sport, Gert Oosthuizen, said the government backed the 25-year-old athlete's selection.

"As part of our drive to normalise society, we want to mainstream disabled people, that is the declared policy of government," Oosthuizen said.

"We always want them to be able to showcase what they can do and to destigmatise them."

Sam also announced that SASCOC would pay incentives to all South Africa's medal winners at the Olympics.

Gold medalists will receive 400,000 rand, silver 200,000 rand and bronze 80,000 rand.


Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Prev     More
Source:
© Copyright 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.