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(Daegu Athletics) Amputee Pistorius left off relay team for final
By Yoo Jee-ho
DAEGU, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- Amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been left off South Africa's 4x400-meter relay squad for Friday's final, as his historical run at the World Championships in Athletics here ended.

   South African team manager Magda Botha said Friday the decision to exclude Pistorius was based on "factual information and knowledge" following a meeting. On Thursday, Pistorius ran the first leg and helped South Africa set its national record with 2 minutes and 59.21 seconds in the qualifying round.

   L.J. van Zyl, who won bronze in the 400-meter hurdles Thursday, will replace Pistorius.

   Dubbed "Blade Runner" for his carbon fiber artificial limbs, Pistorius is the first amputee athlete to compete at an able-bodied world championships. He was born without lower leg bones and had his legs amputated below the knee at 11 months old.

   The 24-year-old had earlier made it through the first round in the 400 meters but was eliminated in the semifinals. But he can still get a relay medal if his South African teammates reach the podium because he ran in the first round.

  
Oscar Pistorius starts off the 4x400-meter relay on Sept. 1 at the World Championships in Daegu. He will not run in the event's final. (Yonhap)


On his Twitter account, Pistorius wrote, "Haven't been included in the final for the SA men's 4x400m. Pretty guttered." He had earlier said it had been "a dream come true" to compete at the world championships.

   His presence here has reignited the debate over the potential edge that his artificial limbs give him over others. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 2008 had earlier banned him from its competitions, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overruled the decision and made him eligible for able-bodied events.

   Pistorius couldn't meet the qualification time for the Beijing Olympics and is trying to make the London Olympics next year. He met the qualifying standard for these championships in July.

   The IAAF caused further controversy on the eve of the championships last week, when its president Lamine Diack said Pistorius would have to run the relay in the first leg to avoid dangers to other athletes, especially during baton handover.

   Pistorius has countered that he has never had problems in his past relays and that his running the first leg would put South Africa at a disadvantage because of his slow start. In Thursday's heat, Pistorius came in last among all of the first runners before his teammates made the comeback.

   The IAAF has also said it has the power to reevaluate Pistorius' eligibility and see if his prosthetic legs remain within the rules for future events.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
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