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Man Becomes First Amputee to Compete in World Championships


"highest-profile and most prestigious able-bodied event"

Oscar Pistorious wears Flex-Foot Cheetah's, which are custom-built carbon fiber feet designed for sporting activities. (Oscar Pistorius)

Oscar Pistorius qualified as the first amputee to compete alongside able-bodied athletes in the International Athletic Association's (IAAF) World Championships at the end of this month:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/H4BLQT1ZILs?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]

For the 24-year-old double amputee on the South African team,  participating in this year's World Championships is an achievement after his bid to enter the 2008 Olympics was initially denied by the IAAF. The IAAF ruled at that time that his prosthetic limbs, which have earned him the nickname "Blade Runner," gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. In 2007, the IAAF banned any device that "provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device."

Pistorius appealed against the ban and the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the IAAF's ruling later that year. Pistorius was then able to compete for a qualifying spot in the 2008 Olympics, but did not achieve a qualifying time.

"This will be the highest-profile and most prestigious able-bodied event which I have ever competed in, and I will face the highest-calibre of athletes from across the planet," he told the BBC.

Clocking in at 45.07 seconds, just inside the 45.70 second cutoff, Pistorius will run in the 400-meter and 4x400 relay events. The 2011 World Championships are being held in Daegu, South Korea, from August 27 to September 4, 2011.

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