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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 00:40 GMT 01:40 UK
Amputee sprinter second in Rome
Oscar Pistorius at Rome Golden League meet - 13/07/2007
Pistorius has been called the fastest thing on no legs
South African amputee runner Oscar Pistorius has finished second in a 400m race with able-bodied athletes at the Golden League meet in Rome.

Pistorius, 20, runs on curved carbon fibre blades attached below his knees.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is yet to make a decision on whether his blades give him an unfair advantage.

He hopes to qualify for the World Athletics Championships next month and run in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

He came from last place on the final bend to overtake the field and finish in 46.90 seconds, 0.18 seconds behind the winner Stefano Braciola.

"I am not very happy about my time, but it's still nice to be out on the track," said Pistorius after the race.

Later in the meeting, a French long-jumper was seriously injured when he was hit in the back by a stray javelin.

Unfair advantage?

Pistorius needs a time of 45.95 to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, in August.

He will get another chance on Sunday in Sheffield against a field that includes Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner and several other leading runners.

Oscar Pistorius wins the 200m T44 for Men during the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games
Pistorius made his international debut at the 2004 Paralympics
Pistorius already holds the world records for the 100m, 200m and 400m Paralympic events and has been described as the fastest thing on no legs.

The curved blades he runs on have earned him the nickname "Blade Runner".

The IAAF was closely watching Friday's race in Rome to see if Mr Pistorius' curved blades give him an unfair advantage.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies says the IAAF has evidence that the spring in the limbs gives Pistorius a "three to four metre stride" which he insists is "not humanly possible" and hence an unfair advantage.

Yet the athlete argues that his stride is in fact no greater than if he were able-bodied.

"If the IAAF decide to ban me, it will be something I'll just have to deal with," Pistorius said.

"But it would be nice to feel that they were working with me, not against me."

Pistorius was born without his calf bones and had both legs amputated when he was five months old.

Blade Runner's ongoing battle
12 Jul 07 |  Athletics
Pistorius primed for elite test
12 Jul 07 |  Disability Sport
Pistorius sprints to new record
07 Apr 07 |  Disability Sport
Amputee eyes Olympics
05 May 06 |  Disability Sport
Olympic dreams of a blade runner
05 May 05 |  Disability Sport


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