Pistorius v Wariner

Pistorius to take on Olympic king

Pistorius was second in South Africa’s able-bodied 400m championship
Double amputee Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius will race against Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner in July.
He will run in his first able-bodied Grand Prix event at the Norwich Union Sheffield Grand Prix on 15 July.

“With the likes of Jeremy Wariner in the field I couldn’t ask for a stronger test, but these are the sort of challenges I want,” said Pistorius, 20.

He runs on carbon fibre curved blades after his legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.

The South African was born without fibulae in both legs due to a congenital condition.

Other big names in the 400m at the Sheffield meet (which will be broadcast live on BBC TV and on bbc.co.uk/sport) include Britain’s number one Tim Benjamin and the Commonwealth champion John Steffenson from Australia.

In March, it looked as though Pistorius would not get the chance to compete against able-bodied runners after the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, introduced a rule banning any runner deemed to benefit from artificial help.

However, the IAAF subsequently said Pistorius could compete and wants to use the Sheffield event as a part of its research into whether or not he gains an advantage from his blades.

Former Olympic 400m silver medallist Mark Richardson told BBC Radio Sheffield he believes Pistorius should be allowed to race against able-bodied athletes.

He’s got great energy and he’s a fearsome competitor

Mark Richardson

“There should be no reason why he shouldn’t be allowed to compete against so-called able-bodied athletes, so I’m really looking forward to this encounter,” said Richardson.

“It’s an incredible story. It’s great to see he has such enthusiasm for life. He’s got great energy and he’s a fearsome competitor.”

Pistorius is the double amputee world record holder for the 100m, 200m and 400m, and recently finished second in the 400m at the South African able-bodied national championships.

Although his personal best of 46.34 seconds is outside the individual qualifying standard for the world championships this year, he would probably be in his country’s 4x400m relay squad if he is cleared to compete.