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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2006, 11:17 GMT
Athlete's prosthetic leg stolen
John McFall
John McFall is one of the top three in his class worldwide
The training schedule of an elite disabled athlete is in chaos after thieves stole his specially-adapted running leg.

Cardiff-based John McFall, 24, who had one leg amputated below the knee after a motorcycle accident, faces missing a European race in two weeks.

The leg, or blade, was in the boot of his car which was stolen from the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff.

He has appealed to whoever took the car to hand the 3,000 blade in.

He is one of the top three athletes in his class in the world at the 100m and 200m events, and is due to run at a European meeting in Stuttgart in early February.

He also plans to go to the disabled athletics world championships in the Netherlands in September.

I just hope someone's got the grace out there to realise what they've done, 'fess up, or hand it in to the authorities
John McFall

Mr McFall works part time and trains at the Welsh Institute of Sport and it was during a training session on Thursday that he believes his car keys were taken.

"I'd finished training and I went back to the office to get my keys. I couldn't find them anywhere," he told BBC Wales.

"I went outside to have a look around and saw my car was no longer there."

The carbon-fibre blade is individually designed for Mr McFall's weight and height and is of no value to anybody else.

He had the blade in December and thinks it is unlikely he would be able to get another one made in time for the Stuttgart meeting.

He added: "It probably took about five visits to get it made, a period of two-and-a-half to three months.

"I can't train on the track which is the main component of my training.

"Unless I can get a limb turned around in that time, I probably won't be going."

Mr McFall is now asking whoever took the car to look in the boot and return the leg.

"I just hope someone's got the grace out there to realise what they've done, 'fess up, or hand it in to the authorities," he said.

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